The U.S. Air Force has secretly built and flown a full-scale prototype of its future fighter jet, according to the service’s top acquisition official.
The existence of the new demonstrator aircraft was revealed by Will Roper, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. According to Roper, the demonstrator is part of the Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) project.
“We’ve already built and flown a full-scale flight demonstrator in the real world, and we broke records in doing it,” Will Roper told Defense News in an interview ahead of the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference. “We are ready to go and build the next-generation aircraft in a way that has never happened before.”
The NGAD program seeks to develop a sixth-generation jet fighter for the Air Force to complement and replace its current fifth-generation jet fighters, the F-22 Raptor and the F-35A Lightning II. Further details of the classified program was not revealed.