Air Force Develops Prototype of Next-Gen Fighter Aircraft; Will Roper Quoted

Air Force Develops Prototype of Next-Gen Fighter Aircraft; Will Roper Quoted
Will Roper US Air Force

The U.S. Air Force has built and flown a prototype of a new fighter aircraft using virtual tools as part of the Next Generation Air Dominance program (NGAD), Defense One reported Tuesday.

“The announcement isn’t that we just built an ‘eplane,’ and have flown it a lot of times in our virtual world, which we’ve done, but that we have built a full-scale flight demonstrator and flown it in the real world,” Will Roper, chief acquisition executive at the Air Force and a 2020 Wash100 Award winner, told reporters Tuesday.

The report said the service developed a virtual prototype and a physical aircraft using data from the T-7 trainer and F-35 fighter jet programs under the NGAD program.

“What having the ‘eplane’ will allow us to do is get much faster through design, much faster through assembly, get out to test faster and be able to go after the data we need to anchor models,” Roper said. 

“So these digital threads that are pulled through the life cycle of the program, appear to accelerate everything. The windfall of accelerating everything is getting to focus on what actually matters because the digital model is allowing you to convey things that you already know.” 

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