US F/A-XX and F-X 6th Gen Aircraft News Thread


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Is the air force developing a different aircraft than the navy? Looks like they have separate budgets so I assume yes.

Yes, they are. Lessons were learned (again) about shared aircraft. F-111 ought to have been enough, but perhaps not.

The USAF has requested $1.5B for 2022 for its F-X/NGAD. It's tracking with the B-21 (mostly) and I'd guess next year or the year after, we'll have some sort of selection done.


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It is increasingly clear that the U.S. Air Force’s Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) sixth-generation combat aircraft program will be the next major military aircraft program. There are two big unknowns: Is there a flying aircraft, and who is the prime contractor? And there are five secondary questions that also should be asked about the program.
First, last September, then-Air Force acquisition chief Will Roper revealed the existence of a full-scale prototype combat jet, in flight testing and “breaking records.” This is purportedly part of NGAD, but given the evolving nature of the program—and given uncertainties about the maturity of this prototype—it isn’t clear how relevant this jet is to NGAD’s ultimate form. But NGAD clearly is ramping up as a program, with $1.5 billion in R&D funding requested in fiscal 2022 (up from $902 million in fiscal 2021).

Second, we don’t know who built this prototype. In its second-quarter results, Lockheed Martin took a $0.61 charge per share related to a classified program, and in its first-quarter results the company attributed a $135 million sales increase to classified contracts. This month, the company opened a large new factory at its Skunk Works site. Since classified reconnaissance aircraft are built in small numbers and seldom require large, new facilities, this plant may be connected to a new fighter. But Boeing and Northrop Grumman are also likely competitors.

Beyond these uncertainties, there are five more questions about NGAD:
1. What is the timing? Developing and integrating mission systems and other key components is a bigger challenge than building a test aircraft. There might be a long gap between flying a prototype and producing an operational weapon. Twelve years passed between the first flight of Lockheed Martin’s YF-22 and the first F-22 deliveries and almost 10 years elapsed between the X-35 and initial F-35 deliveries. Digitalization may speed this process, but there is no clear evidence of this. In fact, the pre-digital F-15 and F-16 saw just two and five years pass, respectively, between first flight and service entry.

2. How many will be procured? Roper indicated that the service wanted a Digital Century Series approach, with relatively small procurement batches of multiple aircraft developed in succession. But the procurement number is dependent on the timing: If it takes a decade (and the usual tens of billions of dollars in nonrecurring funding) to produce an operational fighter, then buying small numbers would be incredibly inefficient. Also, as the saying goes, the enemy gets a vote here, too. If conflict with a peer adversary is deemed a short- or midterm risk, then focusing on the current production model makes a lot more sense than waiting years for the next thing or series of things.

3. How joint is it? The Navy’s F/A-XX program would seem to be somewhat behind NGAD in definition and funding. But history indicates that there is little hope of a navalized NGAD aircraft meeting this requirement. The Joint Strike Fighter is more of an Air Force/Marine Corps fighter; the Navy refuses to budget for more than tiny numbers of F-35Cs. For the F-14, F-15, F-16,
to budget for more than tiny numbers of F-35Cs. For the F-14, F-15, F-16, F/A-18 and F-22, “jointness” failed altogether. It has been half a century since a U.S. fighter program was truly joint, with the McDonnell F-4—and the Air Force was not so enthusiastic about it.

4. How global is it? The F-35 has more than a dozen foreign customers; the F-22 had none, for political and cost reasons. The F-15 might provide a good baseline for high-end fighter exports, if NGAD stays in production long enough to attract international interest—there are six international Eagle customers. One was Japan, which might also find NGAD coproduction attractive as an alternative to its indigenous F-3 stealth fighter program.

5. What gets hurt when procurement starts? Ramping up NGAD procurement cash would inevitably affect U.S. Air Force F-35A and/or F-15EX funding. Since the latter is an older airframe, and since it is being procured at a much lower rate, NGAD could lead to F-15EX program termination. Also, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown recently stated that the F-22 will be retired, leaving the F-35A, F-15 and F-16 and, of course NGAD.

In addition to these program questions, another great unknown concerns the new fighter’s capabilities. Specifically, what will deployment of this aircraft mean for the balance of power, particularly against China? Will NGAD’s manned-unmanned teaming capabilities redress the quantitative imbalance in the Western Pacific? The answer to this is years away, but it is crucial to the strategic future of the U.S.


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Always ask yourself: why am I receiving this information in this form at this time?
  • information: It's something being paraded outside on a trailer without as much as a tarp to hide it from view.
  • form: It's allegedly on Tiktok but very much on Twitter and related media.
  • time: It's six days before the Zhuhai airshow
  • also time: It's after the news of five B-21s being produced was released to the media.
Answer 1: It's a spoiler for whatever narrative emerges in the media after the airshow.

It's six days before anything of note can happen. If there are any meaningful leaks in the information war then they will happen after China shows its hand.

Answer 2: It's bait for idiots on social media.

In case you didn't notice - this Ruben Hofs who "coincidentally, this morning stumbled upon a very interesting tiktok video of an unknown shape on a flatbed trailer" already prepared the analysis with colored circles and maps of secret facilties he coincidentally just happened to have.

The idiots on social media are really this dumb. If you don't show them exactly what they are supposed to think as they chase clout and retweets they might think it's an alien spaceship.

Oh wait... it's not an alien spaceship being tested is it???

Don't be an idiot. Instead be like this grumpy old wizard. Smoke some pipeweed and go back to sleep.

EDIT: By the way if I was chief of PLA's cyber and psychological operations I'd really run with this alien ship narrative just to f**k with the Pentagon. The idiots on social media will always seek to reach the lowest intelligence state possible. You give them aliens and they will forget next generations fighters in an instant!
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The NGAD has been underway since Kendall was the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, but has gone beyond the technology demonstrator stage, he said.
It has “moved forward very well” and will be the next-generation fighter after the F-35, but as part of a system of systems, Kendall noted. The other elements of the system, he said, “will be backward compatible” to fourth-generation aircraft, as well.


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Until an attribute becomes the definitive definition of the sixth generation (like stealth did for the F-22) I’d say let’s just wait and see.

Everyones perception of a 6th gen aircraft is entirely different but of course what I see something being perceived as 6th gen is rather 5th gen + but when someone says one aircraft design is one gen higher to me there has to be a significant technological edge that it must have to be granted to be called as such. aircrafts with stealth and manueverability are better than non treated stealth aircrafts as we noticed from the su-27 to T-50 patent or the said differences of frontal RCS value of F-22 to F-16. However for me aircrafts that fly near orbit will be perceived better than stealth aircrafts because air to air missiles have to burn alot of fuel to travel up than down and keeping the nose radar pointed at the higher altitude aircraft will be significantly hard. The higher altitude aircraft will get the entire body reflection of the low flying aircraft instead of just the front face value where RCS is the lowest.

GaAS radars was all 5th gen now(current F-35s, F-22s and Su-57s AFAIK) there is a good chance that GaN radars will be called 6th gen with all radar visibility for TFX, NGAD or Tempest but even the TFX is being offered something similiar in other words i can see both aircrafts being comparable to this at best I would label this as 5th gen plus. The performance for GaN will be better than GaAS and have a little higher bandwidth range but that is about it. Photonic radars have lower background noise levels that the difference is rather drastic especially with EW suppression protection it has. The su-57 in 2014 Rostec book was showcased with GaN EW modules for himalayas and according to some arguements at times it can be believed that it has 360 degree radar coverage since the back modules by a KRET official stated both passive and active detection in which I say he is no fool and says what he means. No idea if these GaN modules can be plug n play for the F-35
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Data speeds of tempest are the city of Edinburgh, or 10,000 times more than current systems, I dont know what the **** that vague explanation is, but a single photonic component on pdf page 25
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can go 400 gbs per second. Edinburgh with 4 other major cities amounts to 4000+ gbs per second
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. meaning 10 photonic radar modules would be enough for not just Edinburgh but the other 4 major cities included. this is what I mean by major difference in generation.

Now I cant say anything right now if 3 stream cycle engines determine next generation or gets the 5th gen +, but I will use the baseline range and supercruise capabilities of the Izdelie 30(if that gets officially revealed later) to help me determine if Tempest or NGAD engines go a generation up or gets a + for example if the range and speed of NGAD or Tempest are like 5-10% more than the 2nd stage engine with a little higher altitude performance I will just give a + if it is significantly more and has like a 10km altitude height difference in performance it deserves to be next gen. Russia will have easier luck with 3 stream engine which they also stated before than operating a detonation engine which they claim success for aircraft use. We can all forget about the TFX because they want to go domestic on it, the only thing we can compare it to is radar and stealth capabilities to NGAD and Tempest because they are constructing their own anechoic chamber

2007 or 2008 there were talks that the F-35 would get DIRCM fastforward to 2022 there is none implemented yet(I will probably expect the same kind of expectations for MSDM), yet it was promised a 100 kilowatt laser that destroys things physically while the Su-57 only blinds, next they propose MSDM a minauture self defense missile that is 1 meter long, yet no tests are conducted while the pantsir which is to be quadpacked is actually testing 1 meter missiles against small drones. Russia switched to creating their own infrared detection systems instead of being reliant on the French, can't compare IRST but I can compare this
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to this
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and say I think they caught up. But if Russia wants a MSDM kind of system for their aircrafts I think its more preferable to have UV, infrared and 360 degree AESA or ROFAR(for better targetting precision) all sensor fused on the aircraft before implementing it. But besides the avionics upgrade for the Su-57 which we have yet to find out if some capabilities will be disclosed here. Using flares should set you a generation back which I hope the NGAD will move on from.

Also BAE Taranis, X-47B and Neuron all existed way before the Su-70 was even known fast forward again, you know those said countries developing said 6th gens have no production or in operation plans with any of those 3 yet Russia developed a much larger stealth drone with not only testing air to ground capabilities but also gave it a radar with air to air missile capabilities and are now moving on testing supersonic variants of the Su-75 to be unmanned, Krylo-SV(whirlwind engine is still a mystery besides its 1st stage) is going to be using runways to fly off and land with hypersonic speeds as having drone AI capabilities so I guess they are closer to having a unmanned near hypersonic 6th gen aircrafts which might add a bonus microwave gun weapon but that we dont know yet.

Russia already has internal hypersonic air to ground missile Larva-MD planned for Su-57, in before Tempest and NGAD try to promote this as a 6th gen feature, not even going to bother with turkey's missile capablilites

If any Western aviation fans were pissed before about Pierre Sprey, Christopher miller statements or General browns replacement plan along with trying to put the F-22s back in service before getting replaced by NGAD, I am sure they are going to get more pissed when comparisons of the 2nd variant Su-57 are ran between the NGAD or Tempest, before they themselves decide if a 6th gen developement would be included in their 2nd armement plan which might have different features.


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Okay here’s the deals on this.
If any Western aviation fans were pissed before about Pierre Sprey, Christopher miller statements or General browns replacement plan along with trying to put the F-22s back in service before getting replaced by NGAD, I am sure they are going to get more pissed when comparisons of the 2nd variant Su-57 are ran between the NGAD or Tempest, before they themselves decide if a 6th gen developement would be included in their 2nd armement plan which might have different features
first Sprey is a hypocrite and an Idiot. Good at math but he is not what he claims to be. Farther he would insist that SU57 is a Turkey too. If some one paid him.
Miller walked back his statement to that the Management was garbage
Next on General Brown. He isn’t pushing a replacement for F35 he is pushing a supplement. Current plans on call for F16 to remain in service till the 2050s along side F35. However Brown isn’t convinced that F16 can do that. Basically he wants an Fighter for the Air National guard role well F35 can go to the front lines.
What about Raptor upgrades? It’s actually very logical to. That being that F22 is about to start an upgrade as those aircraft won’t suddenly be retired the second the first NGAD comes off the line. F22 is likely to be flying well into the 2060s. it take years to build up numbers of Fighters even with an ambitious plan.
Next SU57M or the second generation SU57 is being developed now but won’t be sixth Gen. It will be a plug to get what the Russians have promised on SU57 and optimistically is supposed to start in 2022. Tempest and NGAD are later in the decade and will be more advanced.