The US Air Force (USAF) on 18 May announced the release of a solicitation for engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) of the Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) platform, intended to replace the Lockheed Martin F-22 as the service’s high-end fighter jet.
The solicitation is classified, and details such as desired cost and specifications were not immediately available, although it likely requests an aircraft with a longer range than current fighters, exquisite stealth characteristics, and state-of-the-art electronic sensing and warfare capabilities.
A downselect to a single manufacturer is scheduled for 2024, and USAF officials have earlier said that NGAD should enter service in or around 2030.
Bidders are likely to include Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Boeing, all of which have publicly discussed NGAD designs and were in August 2022 selected to integrate an as-yet-unbuilt engine into an unspecified air dominance platform by 2032.
“The NGAD platform is a vital element of theAir Dominance family of systems, which represents a generational leap in technology over the F-22, which it will replace,” said US Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall. “NGAD will include attributes such as enhanced lethality and the abilities to survive, persist, interoperate, and adapt in the air domain, all within highly contested operational environments.”
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