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    Lockheed Martin and Boeing Compete for Air Force’s Sixth-Gen NGAD Fighter Jet in 2024 Showdown

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    The year 2024 marks a pivotal moment for U.S. air dominance with the Air Force set to award the highly anticipated contract for the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter jet—a sixth-generation aircraft earmarked to replace the venerable F-22 Raptor.

    The stage is set for fierce competition between aerospace titans Lockheed Martin and Boeing after Northrop Grumman withdrew from contention, leaving the industry and defense community abuzz with speculation on who will clinch the contract for these cutting-edge combat machines.

    The Air Force announced in May 2023 that NGAD would utilize open-architecture standards to leverage competition over its lifespan, thereby reducing maintenance and sustainment expenses.

    But the Air Force has been mum on many of the highly classified program’s other technical details, citing security reasons.

    The NGAD program stands apart as it aims to deliver a “family of systems,” which include a manned fighter jet as its centerpiece, complemented by an array of drone wingmen known as collaborative combat aircraft, increased sensor capabilities, and advanced integration with satellites and other platforms.

    Northrop stated in July 2023 that it does not intend to participate as the main contractor in the Air Force’s NGAD version bidding.

    However, Northrop CEO Kathy Warden said in that month’s earnings call that the company may still bid on the Navy’s separate version of NGAD, dubbed F/A-XX.

    The propulsion system slated to power NGAD, dubbed Next Generation Adaptive Propulsion (NGAP), is another facet of the program witnessing a significant funding boost.

    The Air Force requested a notable $595 million for NGAP in its fiscal 2024 budget, reflecting an increase of $375 million over the prior year.

    This investment underscores the importance of NGAP’s advanced features, such as high-temperature composite materials and an adaptive component designed to optimize thrust and efficiency across varying scenarios—a leap forward in fighter jet engine technology.

    related images you might be interested.

    Relevant articles:
    New in 2024: Who will win Air Force’s next-gen fighter contract?, Defense News
    NGAD: The Expensive $300 Million Fighter Jet The Air Force Wants, The National Interest
    New in 2024: With first B-21 flight done, Northrop eyes next contract, defensenews.com
    The world’s top military powers each have fifth-gen jets, but Russia, China, and the US are all facing problems with their fighters, businessinsider.com

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