Military Review

What is the NGAD technology demonstrator for?


A few weeks ago, the United States Air Force announced a new achievement in the field of fighter aviation... It is argued that the promising project of the next generation aircraft has been successfully brought to the stage of flight tests of a prototype technology demonstrator. No details of these works are disclosed, but this does not prevent the emergence of estimates and forecasts.

Recent achievements

News the success of the NGAD (Next-Generation Air Dominance) program was announced during a regular US Air Force Association conference. Air Force Assistant Secretary for Procurement and Technology Will Roper spoke about promising technologies and the latest achievements.

According to him, a mock-up model of the future fighter was built and raised into the air, intended for testing new technologies. In parallel, various instruments and systems are being tested for a full-fledged aircraft. Technical details were not provided. The appearance and characteristics of the flying laboratory remain unknown.

U. Roper paid special attention to the technologies for developing a new fighter. It is being created completely digitally, and with the use of new approaches. The project implements an open architecture of all major systems, flexible software development methods and other innovations that can affect the speed and quality of work. It is all these measures, allegedly, that allowed the development and construction of a prototype in just a year.

Technology demonstration

The finished flight model is considered as a technology demonstrator, but it is not specified which ones. When creating a 6th generation fighter, it is necessary to work out a number of fundamentally new solutions, systems, instruments, techniques, etc. In theory, any of these issues can now be studied using a prototype.

Taking into account the timing of work on NGAD, it can be assumed that the current tests are pursuing rather modest goals, although these activities will have the most serious impact on the further stages of the program. There is reason to believe that today's prototype aircraft is designed to demonstrate promising technologies for the development of aviation technology.

According to W. Roper, only one aircraft has been created using new technologies so far - the training T-7. The creation of the 6th generation fighter-bomber is much more complex and may require additional experiments. It is quite possible that with the help of a new prototype, first of all, the fundamental possibility of designing complex progressive structures by the "accelerated digital" method is being tested.

If the constructed aircraft confirms the viability of new methods within the framework of a complex project, then work on NGAD will continue, and this time with the expectation of creating a full-fledged fighter. At the same time, the emergence of new flying laboratories with certain tasks is possible - the development of such technology will not take much time and money.

It is proposed to use modern digital technologies not only in design, but also in preparation for testing. For example, the assistant minister mentioned that the new prototype was tested “in digital form” before construction. Accordingly, the range of tasks for real test flights is reduced. The same can happen with future demonstration aircraft.

The savings in design and testing time will have obvious consequences. The complete process of creating the aircraft, with all the experiments and mock-ups, will take less time, but will not lead to any losses. In addition, another option is possible: in the same time frame as now, a larger volume of work will be performed.

Areas of Research

The main views on the future generation of fighters are already known, which makes it possible to present the main directions of promising research projects. Various demonstration aircraft can be used for searches and checks in these areas. Moreover, the existing product for the NGAD program, most likely, will also be involved in this process.

It is believed that the 6th generation fighter should have improved stealth characteristics in all ranges, improved flight performance, more advanced electronic equipment, etc. Building on the ideas of the previous generation, such aircraft will receive "smart skin" providing all-round visibility, improved communication and control facilities, new automation systems for basic processes, etc. The possibility of creating optionally manned aircraft is being seriously considered - depending on the task and various factors, the fighter will work with or without a pilot on board.

Since there are no data on the NGAD program demonstrator yet, it can be assumed that it is capable of solving any research problems. At the same time, the most probable is the development of a new aerodynamic appearance, providing an improved ratio of flight and stealth characteristics.

In the past, potential participants in the NGAD program have shown their options for the exterior of a promising fighter. Such "products" differ significantly even from modern aircraft of the latest generation and, apparently, their appearance needs additional verification - in digital form, in a wind tunnel and in the sky.

Principal novelty

The Drive publishes a bold version of the goals of the NGAD program and current work with the flying laboratory. It assumes that the result of the program will not be some kind of aircraft with increased characteristics, but a full-fledged multi-purpose unified platform.

It is possible to create a tactical-class platform aircraft with a modular, incl. replaceable target load. Such a machine can be built in different modifications, each of which will have its own functions. The assembled complex will be able to perform all the intended tasks, and the unification will simplify mass production and operation. Common means of communication and control will allow different elements of the complex to work together and get maximum practical results.

Thus, in the future, the US Air Force and Navy will indeed be able to obtain a 6th generation fighter - fast, maneuverable, almost invisible and highly effective. However, this will not be an independent aircraft, but only part of a larger universal complex with a number of different manned and unmanned vehicles.

The Drive version is supported by the fact that the Air Force is demanding to work out fundamentally new approaches to design. With their help, it is planned to speed up development work - which can be useful when creating a single platform and equipment based on it.

From the past to the future

In the past, US aircraft builders have repeatedly resorted to the construction of a variety of technology demonstrators and flying laboratories. In the recent past, with the help of such products, two future 5th generation fighters were created. Now such approaches are used in the context of the further development of aviation.

It is not known what the current demonstrator of the NGAD program looks like, how it is built and what it is for. However, it is already clear how important and valuable such a machine is for the project as a whole. At the same time, the flying laboratory is interesting not only for the customer and the developer. Information about it is awaited in foreign countries in order to evaluate the latest American works and determine their prospects. In addition, the NGAD documents will need to be reviewed by Congress to determine how current spending and future benefits are matched.
Photos used:
AFRL, Boeing Co.
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  1. Pessimist22
    Pessimist22 29 September 2020 05: 24
    Propaganda and cutting the dough on the American model.
    1. viktor_ui
      viktor_ui 29 September 2020 05: 51
      Igor, why do you care so much about "Propaganda and cutting the dough on the American model" ??? And where did you get both that and another ??? Did Rogozin and others like him tell you this? Or maybe the striped ones with ever-increasing acceleration are starting to go into ANOTHER technological gap? I. Musk in 2022, suddenly, will launch his test demonstrator to Mars ... Rogozin will once again be going to Alpha Centauri then ??? Or to build a great center-riser in the capital for the managing huckster-managers? To have level 6 technology, you first need to have a head on your shoulders, not a turnip for grub + corresponding high-tech intellectual production with a first-class engineering corps ... and not smoking pipes with gigantic financial and political miscalculations. As a result ... you are just jealous. Sorry if anything winked
      1. Grandfather
        Grandfather 29 September 2020 06: 36
        Quote: viktor_ui
        Sorry if anything

        to apologize for the truth is bad manners. smile
        1. Temples
          Temples 29 September 2020 08: 13
          Quote: viktor_ui
          Musk will suddenly launch his test demonstrator to Mars in 2022


          Would you like to fly there?
          Have a desire to die?

          Maybe your idol himself will rush to Mars and back.

          "Suddenly" there will be a bunch. laughing

          All that Musk is doing is the work of the sixties of the last century - burning kerosene and shaking the air with his bravado about conquering neighboring planets.

          Reusable rocket stages. Flight of a man to Mars. (The moon has already been conquered by man)

          Perhaps Musk is making money on his gypsy. Breeds suckers.

          Musk is Duremar.
          Cuts dibs on suckers to the applause of the latter.

          While Musk is busting suckers, engineers are creating truly amazing space technology. I'm talking about Russian engineers.
          1. Doccor18
            Doccor18 29 September 2020 08: 25
            Musk is Duremar.

            I would call him modern Ostap Bender. There was information that Tesla shares are worth 4 times more than they should. The company is not worth that much, it’s a bubble, but ... stock prices went up again ... You need to be able to ...
            1. voyaka uh
              voyaka uh 29 September 2020 18: 50
              Look not at Tesla shares, but at the number of Tesla factories.
              In the States, in Shanghai, for construction in Germany.
              For the constantly growing annual car production.
              These are material values.
              Look at the number of rockets he launches per month, per year.
              More than states.
              The number of satellites that it already has in orbit.
              In a year, Musk will have more active satellites than
              all states of the world combined.
              1. 1_2
                1_2 30 September 2020 10: 26
                Tesla's losses are 2 billion a year, the fact that he built factories on other people's money, it says he just appropriated part of the money (a typical swindler), an electric car is easier to make, even the Papuans will learn how to make it, the Chinese are already making and China's electric cars will be cheaper than the Western crafts , which means Tesla will only suffer losses in the PRC, it will be saved only by the ban on imports of electric cars from the PRC to the USA. rocket launches and satellite launches are carried out exclusively on the money of NASA and the Pentagon, Musk does not earn anything on the free market, he is part of NASA and fulfills government orders while the Fed's machine is working, the dollar will collapse and all US "Masks" will collapse along with the entire US debt economy
          2. Snusmumrik
            Snusmumrik 29 September 2020 09: 23
            Several years ago, there was a choking trolling of Musk's work on the pages of VO. Dig through the archives. Judging by those articles, Musk's products could not be built, if they were built - they could not take off, if they took off - they could not land, and if they landed, they could not be launched again. All of this was very reminiscent of the Ukrainian articles about the Crimean bridge in 2015-2018. Now what? Dragons of the Mask fly. Dot. And our leaders barely managed to interrupt the series of existing missile crashes. There is no talk about new ones at all.
      2. Pessimist22
        Pessimist22 29 September 2020 07: 15
        Excuse me, you don’t understand except that in the USA capitalists make money using supposedly new technologies and promise to break away, but ours haven’t learned so much and use old proven methods, but as a result, a small handful are enriched, and the fact that you are a fan of the USA and Aple, it is clear from the text how you extol them, you probably do not doubt the honesty of the American capitalists.
        1. viktor_ui
          viktor_ui 29 September 2020 07: 33
          I also engineer the Germans, Yapov, Israel, South Korea, Finland, Canada ... if I like it. China is pulling up. Aple Macintosh is my first PC ... and yes, I am a fan and adherent of I. Musk and NASA - after all, with them it is so interesting to look into the already opened future.
          Allegedly new technologies are just a killer interpretation ... a very convenient individual in terms of old proven methods (I would like an example)
          1. Pessimist22
            Pessimist22 29 September 2020 07: 44
            You will probably be very surprised when the Chinese will land on the moon and start building a base, but Musk will fail.
            1. The eye of the crying
              The eye of the crying 29 September 2020 21: 09
              No one will be surprised at this smile
            2. 1_2
              1_2 30 September 2020 10: 27
              this is impossible, because the radiation on the moon is 200 times more than on earth
    2. Linxs
      Linxs 29 September 2020 09: 51
      You forget about working out those processes and developing promising ideas, improving the pre. technology.
      If only I could cut the dough ... but alas.
  2. Monar
    Monar 29 September 2020 06: 35
    I did not understand what the article was about. There is nothing but Will Roper's words.
    1. viktor_ui
      viktor_ui 29 September 2020 06: 51
      An article, specifically, about the next round of development of the Air Force on the basis of the 6th platform - R&D + demonstrator. Work in full swing if cho wink For real photos and videos, contact the State Department ... the author is not aisles bully
  3. g1washntwn
    g1washntwn 29 September 2020 09: 04
    According to the renders - tailless, the controlled vector is not seen, the air intake at large angles will be in the shadow. That is, the word "maneuverable" can be roughly divided into three at once (and if with a pilot, then by all 10). ... unless they invented the anti-gravity engine, of course.
    1. voyaka uh
      voyaka uh 29 September 2020 18: 41
      The tail unit can be made retractable into the fuselage.
      Then, on cruise flight, maximum stealth is achieved,
      and in battle - maximum maneuverability.
  4. Snusmumrik
    Snusmumrik 29 September 2020 09: 25
    The main thing is that the flying "Zamvolt" does not work out in the end. And so - a good click on the nose of our warriors. That's what the pike is for, so that the crucian does not doze.
  5. OgnennyiKotik
    OgnennyiKotik 29 September 2020 09: 29
    The words "6th generation" are not used in the United States, they use the term "next generation". It looks like they want to do something different, not a continuation of the 5th generation, but a new class. As with tiltrotors.
    The idea of ​​modularity is still known. During the JSF competition, the X35A was converted to the X35B. Perhaps they want something like this to be able to do the technicians directly at the bases, in a short time. Boeing's Loyal Wingman is already building on this. Also, the Firebird aircraft is now being tested, which in a couple of hours turns from manned to unmanned.
    1. OgnennyiKotik
      OgnennyiKotik 29 September 2020 09: 40
      Another direction is the Lockheed SR-72. Continuation of SR-71. While talking about a reconnaissance unmanned hypersonic aircraft, with a maximum speed of 6M. In theory, both strike and optionally piloted variants can be made.

      Who is interested in more videos on the topic:
  6. bk0010
    bk0010 29 September 2020 10: 21
    So what is the difference between the new aircraft and the 5th generation? Not Ajail's design methods, but the machine itself? Modularity? And now it is being implemented with a wide range of weapons and overhead containers.
    1. timokhin-aa
      timokhin-aa 29 September 2020 15: 26
      Here is a short summary -

      In a week, there will be no VO as retold by R. Skomorokhov
  7. Griffit
    Griffit 29 September 2020 11: 27
    Another dough cut. Even the Americans themselves admit that their expenses for superfood waffles are inflated tenfold compared to Russian and Chinese ones. Adequate people silently do the work and do not shout to the whole world about what cool things they create. And about the lack of such developments in Russia, I remember how the Americans shouted that the petrel and Poseidon are complete nonsense. And now, when it is necessary to extend SNV3, they demand to include them there.
    1. c2020
      c2020 29 September 2020 16: 40
      Here our people does not catch up ... Does not understand all the grandeur of the plan. While the Yankees are wasting their time on all sorts of sixth generations, the Russians put the reformer Serdyukov on aviation. He is a doc in furniture business, and Russian aviation began with bed workshops. Got it? Well, that's the same. A little more and Russian flying whatnots, following the example of Matthias Rust, will be able to capture the areas of enemy capitals. The enemy will be defeated and victory will be ours. That's it. You need to have your head on your shoulders, not tukhes! The enemy will never guess this ingenious plan ...
      1. Boris ⁣ Shaver
        Boris ⁣ Shaver 1 October 2020 00: 02
        Quote: c2020
        Russians put reformer Serdyukov on aviation

        Are they Russians? Sometimes doubts arise, right.
        1. Outsider
          Outsider 2 October 2020 18: 48
          - So you only have Jews in show business, and in various design bureaus, where in the Soviet era there was a sea of ​​them, now only Tajiks are constructing ICBMs and nuclear submarines ...
  8. voyaka uh
    voyaka uh 29 September 2020 18: 30
    Most interesting: leaked information that
    the Pentagon will not give up the production of the new plane to Lockheed,
    not Boeing, and not Nordrop Grumman. belay
    And some new firm.
    1. OgnennyiKotik
      OgnennyiKotik 29 September 2020 18: 48
      And where did you read that? And who could it be in theory? Except for General Atomics, nothing comes to mind, everyone else is either Boeing or Lockheed, except for Nordrop.
      They have been straining for a long time that they have 3 military aircraft manufacturers left and new design systems are aimed at lowering the entry threshold.
    2. OgnennyiKotik
      OgnennyiKotik 29 September 2020 18: 59
      Perhaps General Dynamics Corporation is returning to the military aviation market.
    3. Boris ⁣ Shaver
      Boris ⁣ Shaver 1 October 2020 00: 06
      Quote: voyaka uh
      some new firm

      There are many problems with 35. Obviously, in order to successfully create more complex systems, it is necessary to change approaches and, just in case, the contractor.
      1. voyaka uh
        voyaka uh 1 October 2020 00: 20
        Lockheed is overwhelmed with orders. They make too many names
        military products.
        And it is known that a rapidly growing giant firm becomes poorly managed.
        This is clearly seen in the example of Boeing.
        There is a reason to give a large contract to someone new, but with ambitions
        break through to the top.
      2. OgnennyiKotik
        OgnennyiKotik 1 October 2020 00: 41
        Quote: Boris ⁣Razor
        There are many problems with 35.

        There are many problems with all aircraft. 35mu just a lot of attention, he is an unprecedented plane.
        Quote: Boris ⁣Razor
        just in case, a contractor.

        U.S. Air Force officials are constantly whining about 3 topics:
        1. Growing opportunities in China.
        2. Lack of qualified pilots
        3. Few contractors.

        2 + 1 aircraft manufacturer company is not happy with them. Moreover, Lockhead and Boeing find compromises and a cartel agreement is already possible. For a US citizen and official, this is a red rag. Competition is their strong point.
        1. Boris ⁣ Shaver
          Boris ⁣ Shaver 1 October 2020 01: 15
          Quote: OgnennyiKotik
          There are many problems with all aircraft

          No, well, our "losing weight" due to unnecessary spare parts IL, of course, beyond any competition. But 35 has a slightly different problem. There is money and it goes into business, and therefore there is everything you need, including the appropriate number of qualified specialists, individually capable of properly solving the tasks assigned to each of them. The only problem is to integrate the results of their labor into a single whole. And this is just a question of the control system, the design system.

          Quote: OgnennyiKotik
          cartel conspiracy is already possible. For a US citizen and official, this is a red rag. Competition is their strong point.

          Stone Age, right. They would have normal advanced managers like our Serdyukov. They would explain to everyone out of the blue that the only thing better than destroying competition in the industry is the complete destruction of the industry itself. Ideally, the money of the state customer, bypassing all these dreary, disgusting postings through production, should directly go into whose pocket.
          1. OgnennyiKotik
            OgnennyiKotik 1 October 2020 01: 23
            Quote: Boris ⁣Razor
            They would have normal advanced managers like our Serdyukov.

            After his speeches, you understand that you should not expect positive results in the aviation industry.
            1. Boris ⁣ Shaver
              Boris ⁣ Shaver 1 October 2020 01: 32
              Quote: OgnennyiKotik
              in the aviation industry, you should not expect positive results

              Look wider. After all, someone pulled him out again, shook him off the dirt and put him in the case. So this someone is quite satisfied with the activity of this lad. So this someone shares his approaches. Meanwhile, it is obvious that this someone is a figure on a much larger scale than Serdyukov himself, which means that he controls something more than the current sphere of responsibility of our respected former defense minister. Therefore, positive results should not be expected not only in aircraft construction, but also in something much larger.
              1. OgnennyiKotik
                OgnennyiKotik 1 October 2020 01: 43
                Quote: Boris ⁣Razor
                Consequently, positive results should not be expected not only in aircraft construction, but also in something much larger.

                There have been no positive results in Russia since 2012. I think who is the problem, the answer is obvious.
                1. Boris ⁣ Shaver
                  Boris ⁣ Shaver 1 October 2020 02: 25
                  Quote: OgnennyiKotik
                  There have been no positive results in Russia since 2012.

                  And before that, they were just pearls. By miraculously strangling the scientific centers that survived the 90s, by redirecting the already meager financial flows that fed them earlier to the construction of another office for Chubais - who, in your opinion, was engaged? And this is one of many questions.
          2. voyaka uh
            voyaka uh 1 October 2020 18: 41
            F-35 can be used at different levels.
            Or like a normal fighter-bomber. Less noticeable
            for radars. He flew in, dropped a couple of precision bombs, and flew away unharmed. Hooray! smile
            This is about 50% of its capabilities.
            Or as part of a strategic offensive system when
            a lot of. As part of a network that includes all branches of the military. Not once
            not proven in battle.
            And that's the hard part to use. Requiring specialists and special equipment
            at all levels and in all branches of the military.
    4. Tsoy
      Tsoy 1 October 2020 18: 11
      And some new firm.

      The Pentagon wants to diversify and dilute the big three players. Therefore, new companies like textron will be brought up. They looked at nasa and decided that there was a sense in this approach.
  9. Victorio
    Victorio 29 September 2020 23: 33
    In addition, the NGAD documents will need to be reviewed by Congress to determine how current spending and future benefits are matched.
    yes, green papers are still in use, the whole world will throw off the NGAD
  10. grumbler
    grumbler 30 September 2020 22: 47
    "What is the NGAD technology demonstrator for?" ...
    It seems to me that a technology demonstrator is needed primarily in order to demonstrate the performance of the Newest Development Model, the approaches of which are largely borrowed from Information Technology (IT), such as: Agile, SCRUM ("sprints" are relatively short time intervals , on which full-fledged product prototypes are created), Continuous Integration, etc. It is important to show that they are really capable of providing the benefits that both Customers and Developers expect from them.
    And of course it's almost 100% digital. These are serious challenges for well-established processes and customer-developer, contractor-subcontractor relationships.
    Reinterpreting the well-known IT saying of Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel, - "Conversations cost nothing, show me the code.", You can say "Conversations cost nothing, show us the plane."