US defense industry giant Northrop Grumman announced that it is not participating in the competition for the Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program that will originate the first 6th generation fighter of the US Air Force (USAF).
The decision was announced on July 27 by the CEO of the manufacturer, Kathy Warden, during the company’s financial results conference.
“We have notified the U.S. Air Force that we’re not planning to respond to the NGAD RFP (Request For Proposals) as the prime,” said the chief executive.
Warden, on the other hand, considered that Northrop Grumman could participate in the NGAD program as a supplier of mission systems for the future aircraft. “We are responding to other bidders’ request for proposal as the supplier, that’s particularly in our mission system portfolio.”
Lockheed Martin and Boeing
There would then remain two bidders, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, although none of them has confirmed participation in the bid.
Supplier of the USAF’s two 5th generation fighters, the F-22 (made jointly with Boeing) and the F-35, Lockheed Martin seems to be in a better position to meet the requirements of the NGAD.
In May, the USAF informed that it intends to select the supplier that will be responsible for the NGAD in 2024. Still in formulation, the 6th generation US fighter must incorporate state-of-the-art resources, such as artificial intelligence, interoperability with drones, hypersonic weapons, in addition to a project made with digital tools.
The Air Force has already flown a demonstration aircraft with these characteristics, but so far it has not released technical information, dates or which companies contributed to its development.
Northrop Grumman, in turn, is focused on developing the B-21 Raider, the first 6th generation stealth bomber, which is expected to make its maiden flight in 2023.
In addition, the company, famous for its naval planes, left open the possibility of participating in the US Navy’s FA-XX competition, which intends to replace the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet with a 6th generation fighter.