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Defense News: The US Air Force has built and flown a mysterious full-scale prototype of its future fighter jet


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Well there has been rumours for years that there was a development of yF23 that was flying, most memorably the crash at Boscombe Down was described to be reminicent of it. But that was presumed to be a medium range bomber replacement for the F111 and F15E, and its difficult to envisage the USAF would have two new air dominance fighters in production, one overt and one covert. Still, if it was an underused prototype, perhaps its been rebooted to pave the way for an F22 replacement.

The only reason why im indulging such foolish optimism, is this. I idly wonder if there is any connection. After all, NOT selling the F22 to Japan pretty much killed it as far as future production is concerned. May as well tick that box right now....

https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/aviation/a22093705/northrop-grumman-japans-fighter-jet/

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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3 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

Well there has been rumours for years that there was a development of yF23 that was flying, most memorably the crash at Boscombe Down was described to be reminicent of it. But that was presumed to be a medium range bomber replacement for the F111 and F15E, and its difficult to envisage the USAF would have two new air dominance fighters in production, one overt and one covert. Still, if it was an underused prototype, perhaps its been rebooted to pave the way for an F22 replacement.

The only reason why im indulging such foolish optimism, is this. I idly wonder if there is any connection. After all, NOT selling the F22 to Japan pretty much killed it as far as future production is concerned. May as well tick that box right now....

https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/aviation/a22093705/northrop-grumman-japans-fighter-jet/

 

The latest from the Japan side is that a deadline for applying for the Japanese led-development to both Japanese and international companies was the end of August. Only one Japanese company submitted application which was Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Official contract signing is aimed for October but who knows with this thing. Of course other Japanese companies will be sub-contacted by MHI such as IHI (engine maker). Seven international companies applied as well although no list of the companies were provided (or just evades me). But it's to be narrowed down to one.

http://www.jwing.net/news/29305

 

Seven.. LM, Boeing, Airbus, BAE, Grumman.. two more.. Raytheon and..? 

 

Although apparantly common generic reports about the F-3 program have been saying joint-development with the US but technical assistence from the UK.

 

If not some early stage 6 gen fighter US program, and its an if, but a grumman bird flying around, it might be doing so to serve as proving the company's worth for the program before the list of 7 is narrowed to one.

 

Edited by JasonJ
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On 9/17/2020 at 10:40 AM, bfng3569 said:

probably completely unrelated, but interesting timing with the Raider set to come out of the wood work soon.

beginning to think it has more to do with this......

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/36698/sprawling-new-hangar-facility-at-area-51-points-to-the-arrival-of-the-drone-swarm

 

 

Quote

 

Thanks to our colleagues Steve Trimble and Marcus Weisgerber, The War Zone's long-standing assertion that the Air Force's new B-21 Raider stealth bomber would work as a central C3 node for tactical aircraft, including networked swarms of UCAVs, was all but outright confirmed by the Air Force's Chief of Staff. Once again, we are talking about an interconnected family of systems here.   

 

Thanks to @MarcusReports, who passed along my ? to USAF chief of staff Gen. CQ Brown today.

I asked Brown if B-21 could play mothership role for attritable systems in an air dominance mission, as @Aviation_Intel has been hinting. "There's possibilities to do that," Brown said.

— Steve Trimble (@TheDEWLine) September 22, 2020

Chief of Staff Brown also underlined that the NGAD demonstrator is more about how it was designed and built under the 'e-Plane' doctrine than it being an exquisite airframe (or airframes) itself. Regardless, with any UCAV type initiative, especially on the lower end, rapid evolutionary iterations of a design produced in small batches that use the same foundational networking and command and control architecture will be central to the effort. Once again, this fits perfectly with what we think this new facility at Area 51 will be used to support. 

 

 

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That would fit, particularly as they built some drone operating facilities at Groom lake a couple of years ago. Ok, they were just predators, but that doesnt mean they were using standard predator software.

I wonder if there is a connection to the F117, which has been operating again in what seemed to be a opfor role? That might be a cover for systems development.

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