The concept is to start the base work nail the design and commission building for a set but limited number of aircraft for a short lifespan well the second iteration is starting work. In this manner they hope to establish a force of aircraft types each being an improved version of the last. Potentially having types tailored to specific regions and missions. Because this is basically all new and the established timeline isn’t to have full fielding until the latter half of the decade early next decade. This differs from F35 or F22. Where the X plane was built and demonstrated then redesigned virtually completely different aircraft were built and progressively systematically changed from non mission coded to combat ready.It feels awfully like the bitcoin of aircraft design -- lots of time, energy, and computation power used but only a digital product to show for it and they expect people to take it seriously.
They seem now to be cycling black demonstrators behind the scenes. The show aspect is the thing.
Keep in mind the amount of money being spent on Bitcoin mining in right now. People take that seriously. This isn’t like an Iranian stealth model. Where they have a glider that will never ever fly but will slap it all over any media they can.
The USAF is well known to be flying stuff never seen in the public and at best only rumored in the back hallways of foreign intelligence agencies. It developed and built the F117 fleet reached IOC and kept it in the blackest black for half a decade more. Operated Stealth drones and helicopters only revealed by accident. Even maintained and procured its own squadrons of foreign built aircraft types sourced from adversaries for a full decade.