Lockheed Martin has introduced drawings of a new fighter jet design that is suspected to be a manned version of the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program, namely the next generation fighter jet (sixth generation) for the US Air Force (USAF). The stealth aircraft is shown refueling in the air, ‘feeding’ on the LMXT tanker concept also designed by Lockheed Martin.
Lockheed Martin’s vision of a possible manned NGAD aircraft was to combine diamond-shaped wings with straight leading and trailing edges. The wings are flush with the fuselage, are tailless, and feature a single, prominent chin line that tapers sharply towards the nose.
The twin engines are buried in the fuselage and the exhaust is hidden above the diamond-cut rear surface.The aircraft is described as wearing a glossy or semi-reflective coating, which could be in line with similar experimental coatings seen on the F-22, F-35, and recent F-117. The engine air intakes are not visible, suggesting they may be under the fuselage.
The moderately long cockpit canopy was proportionately very low-profile, implying limited visibility, especially rearward view for the crew. This feature is not as important as it used to be with the advent of distributed aperture systems and the gathering of very high situational awareness due to sophisticated sensor fusion and networks.
Read Also: NGAD is Just the Beginning, US Prepares Loyal Wingman Project for Its Sixth Generation FighterAlso, the NGAD manned elements are not really traditional combatants. Range, payload and low observability definitely took priority over maneuverability. The scale of the aircraft shown in this image is difficult to judge, but based on comparison with the refueling boom, this is not a very large fighter.
Although often imagined, the NGAD is a larger manned fighter jet, with increased internal fuel and weᴀponѕ transport, writes The Drive (26/10).
At the same time, the US Air Force has also been talking about the possibility of two different versions of the aircraft, a long-range version optimized for operations in the Indo-Pacific and a short-range version for the European theater. Classified as a 6th generation fighter jet, it is hoped that the NGAD will materialize and serve for the USAF around the 2030s and above which will replace the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.