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


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Defense News

Valerie Insinna

Sept. 16 2020


Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein sits inside the cockpit of Boeing's T-7 training jet during a Jan. 15, 2019, visit to the company's production facility in St. Louis, Mo. The Boeing T-7 is the first Air Force jet to be produced using digital manufacturing techniques. (Boeing)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force has secretly designed, built and flown at least one prototype of its enigmatic next-generation fighter jet, the service’s top acquisition official confirmed to Defense News on Sept. 14.

The development is certain to shock the defense community, which last saw the first flight of an experimental fighter during the battle for the Joint Strike Fighter contract 20 years ago. With the Air Force’s future fighter program still in its infancy, the rollout and successful first flight of a demonstrator was not expected for years.

“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 exclusive 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.”

Almost every detail about the aircraft itself will remain a mystery due to the classification of the Next Generation Air Dominance program,..........(Snip)




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