Putting the NGAD program at the price of the F-35A, the USAF reveals its plan to save the 6th generation fighter

Just two weeks ago, US Air Force Chief of Staff General Allvin confirmed that the NGAD American 6th generation fighter program could be threatened by budgetary decisions, causing a shock wave throughout the entire American defense ecosystem.

Later, it was the turn of the Secretary of the Air Force, Frank Kendall, to do the same, when he suggested that difficult trade-offs could take place, against a backdrop of increases in the costs of certain strategic programs, such as B-21 Raider bomber and the Sentinel ICBM missile.

Since these announcements, many voices, both military and political, have been raised across the Atlantic to call for preserving the NGAD program, considered essential to confront the Chinese threat in the Pacific, but also to preserve and develop the aeronautics industry. American defense.

In an interview given to the Defensenews site and published on July 1, SECAF Frank Kendall, detailed the way in which he and the US Air Force had engaged in a disruptive approach, to save the NGAD without having to give up other programs, while respecting existing budgetary constraints.

F-35A, B-21, Sentinel, CCA: The US Air Force has more priority programs than credits

The main constraint threatening the NGAD program being budgetary, the solution recommended by the US Air Force obviously goes towards reducing the price of the device and its development.

B-21 Raider Northrop Grumman US Air Force
The B-21 Raider is one of the US Air Force's strategic programs that has seen costs increase significantly in recent years.

It must be said that, as is often the case across the Atlantic, the technological ambitions of the NGAD are today such that the device had a forecast price estimated between $300 and $400 million, expressed in USD 2030, date of its entry into service.

As has been the case for many other programs, the NGAD aimed, until now, to become the most efficient combat aircraft in its category, and its program simultaneously served as a framework for the needs expressed by the US Air Force. , and a backbone for the development of certain major new technologies, such as the high-performance adaptive turbojet, successor to the F135.

This is precisely what the US Air Force seems, today, ready to give up. And for good reason ! The budgetary objective put forward by Frank Kendall, during this interview, is enough to leave you speechless, since it would be a question of bringing the price of the NGAD, the first 6th generation fighter and successor to the F-22 Raptor, to the level of that of the F-35A, or around $100 million.

Exclude R&D programs from the design of the NGAD program to reduce prices and deadlines

Achieving such a unit price would, naturally, constitute not only a lifeline for the program itself, but also a profound upheaval in the acquisition strategy of the US Air Force in terms of the fighter fleet.

American defense industry P&W F-135
The reactor that will power the NGAD may well not be a new generation model with adaptive technology, but a more classic turbojet already in service.

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