Secret US NGAD Fighter Jet That Costs 6 Times More Than the F-35A

Secret US NGAD Fighter Jet That Costs 6 Times More Than the F-35A
The US Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter aircraft

International Military - The US Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter aircraft program which was reported in 2020 seems to be going well. The reason is that the 6th generation fighter aircraft is known to have started flight tests. Reported on June 1, NGAD has already started the engineering, manufacturing, and development phase.

Quoted from Military Watch Magazine, Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall announced that his goal is to turn the program into a real capability before 2030. Not only that, Kendall also has concerns with US rivals, namely China.

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As is known, China could have produced a faster operational fighter. "We have now started the EMD program to carry out the development of the aircraft that we will produce," he said,

Kendall also revealed how the NGAD program works. "So basically we have the X-plane program, which is designed to reduce risk in some of the key technologies that we need for the production program," Kendall continued.

He also stressed the importance of speed in development. "Not interested in demonstrating experiments unless it's a necessary step on the road to a new capability we have to go straight to development for production and get there as fast as we can," he said.

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NGAD was built in secret and No details about NGAD have been disclosed to the public. However, it is clear that NGAD was indeed formed to replace the aging F-22 Raptor. Moreover, there are only a few F-22 Raptors in operation. On the other hand, NGAD is projected to be priced at a very high price.

According to Popular Mechanics, the NGAD fighter, which will begin replacing the F-22 Raptor in 2030, will cost "several hundred million dollars". This means the jet can easily be double or triple the cost of the F-35.

Not only that, the fighter is also being optimized for the Asia Pacific theater and will be accompanied into battle by a companion robot. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, in remarks reported by Defense News, told lawmakers that a crewed version of the NGAD fighter jet would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. The cost per unit is estimated at $200 million.

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Not only that, Kendall's statement leaves plenty of room for the jet to actually cost more than $300 million. For context, the F-35A costs $77 million, while the new, refurbished F-15EX Super Eagle costs $80 million.

If a manned NGAD costs $300 million and an unmanned version $150 million, the same money could buy nearly six F-35As. However, of course NGAD is much different from the F-35A.

The F-35A fighter jet was designed in the 1990s as an economical replacement for some fighters. The F35A is also designed to fulfill several missions, including the traditional air-to-air combat role, air-to-ground attack role, and close air support.

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