What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter - We Are The Mighty
Intel

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter

Last September, the U.S. Air Force shocked the world with the announcement that they had already designed, built, and tested an aircraft designed under their NGAD fighter, or Next Generation Air Dominance, program. The idea that America might already have a 6th generation fighter waiting in the wings caught the world’s attention, but in the months since, many have come to believe that the aircraft that was tested wasn’t a mature fighter design, but was rather a technology demonstrated used to assess the performance of systems destined for an NGAD fighter.

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter
The Air Force’s most recent NGAD fighter artist rendering.

None the less, these tests mean the Air Force has clearly made some significant progress on what is to become the NGAD fighter, making it all the more miraculous that the American people have yet to learn much at all about this aircraft slated to replace the dogfight-dominating F-22 Raptor. Like the B-21 Raider being developed by Northrop Grumman, the NGAD fighter is an open secret: The world knows it’s coming, we just still don’t know what it’ll be capable of.

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter
Air Force artist’s rendering of the B-21 Raider.

So, what do we know about the NGAD fighter? Well, there are some things we can glean through official artist’s renderings and their associated descriptions, and there are other things we can extrapolate based on the capabilities of its longterm competition in China’s J-20 and Russia’s Su-57 stealth fighters. By putting these two groups of assertions together, we can develop a somewhat robust idea of what the NGAD fighter will be expected to do, and how it might go about doing it.

Watch: What can artist’s renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter?

In this video, I break down some of the official images of the NGAD fighter (artist’s renderings) that have been released by the U.S. Air Force in various documents. Then, I compare those images to ongoing aviation trends and previous stealth aircraft prototypes to draw conclusions about what this jet may really look like.

You can read the full article this video was based on, here.

In many of these renderings, the NGAD fighter looks to have adopted a triangular or wedge-shaped design that forgoes the presence of a traditional vertical tail. While both the F-22 Raptor this jet will replace and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter America continues to pump out of Lockheed factories do have fairly traditional tail sections despite their stealthy designs, the idea of a stealth fighter that lacks a vertical tail is not at all without precedent.

In fact, Northrop Grumman’s famed YF-23 Black Widow II, which competed with and lost to Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor for America’s last air superiority fighter contract, famously performed as well or better than the Raptor in a number of important categories (including stealth and range), and it too lacked a vertical tail. Today, Northrop Grumman is under contract with the Air Force to produce the forthcoming B-21 Raider, widely believed to be the most advanced stealth bomber in history, so it’s not out of the question to suggest that Northrop may also be competing for a chance at the NGAD fighter using an updated design that shares some commonality with the aforementioned YF-23.

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter
Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

In fact, even Lockheed Martin has released artist’s renderings tied to the prospect of a 6th generation fighter that look strikingly like Northrop’s YF-23 design.

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter
Lockheed Martin Artist’s Rendering
What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter
YF-23 Black Widow II (Northrop Grumman)

You can read our full coverage on the incredible YF-23 Black Widow II in our feature on it here.

Other facets of the NGAD fighter, like storing ordnance internally, carrying its own electronic warfare capabilities, and leveraging advanced engines meant to increase power and efficiency while further limiting infrared exposure can all be seen in the most recent images tied to the program released earlier this month.

This article originally appeared on Sandboxx. Follow Sandboxx on Facebook.

Intel

Air Force offers pilots $420K bonus to stay in the cockpit

When the Air Force tells its pilots to “aim high,” they sure as heck mean it. In a bid to offset its persistent pilot retention woes, the Air Force is reportedly offering its aviators a bonus of up to $420,000 to stay in uniform.

The payments are to be doled out over time or in lump sums, and vary in their value according to different types of aircraft. For example: bomber, fighter, special operations, air mobility, and combat search and rescue fixed-wing pilots can receive an additional $25,000 annually for contracts lasting five to seven years, and up to $35,000 annually for contract lengths of eight to 12 years.

Those pilots also have the option to receive a lump sum payment of $100,000 for the five-to-seven-year contracts and $200,000 for the eight-to-12-year contracts.

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter
F-35A Lightning II pilots from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings are met by family and friends as they return home on May 10, 2020, after a six-month deployment to the Middle East. Photo by R. Nial Bradshaw/US Air Force, courtesy of DVIDS.

Remotely piloted aircraft pilots can receive the same benefits, except they can only opt for a $100,000 lump sum payout for contract lengths of eight to 12 years. Combat search and rescue rotary-wing pilots are set to receive annual bonus payments of $15,000 for contracts lasting five to seven years, and up to $25,000 annually for contract lengths of eight to 12 years.

The stress of more than two decades of constant combat deployments has spurred many Air Force pilots to hang up their spurs, so to speak, and head for the airlines or other civilian careers. In March 2020, the Air Force reported that it was 2,100 pilots short of the 21,000 required to execute the National Defense Strategy.

In its fiscal year 2021 budget request to Congress, the Air Force described its crop of pilots as “a force that remains inspired to serve, but are nevertheless stressed by nearly two decades of sustained combat.”

The bonuses are intended to keep pilots in the Air Force. However, with the commercial airline industry in turmoil from the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of pilots looking to leave the service may already be set to decrease in the coming years. Nevertheless, the diminished pull of the commercial aviation economy could be offset if the tempo of military operations ticks up again in the coming years.

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter
US Air Force Lt. Col. Frederick M. Wilmer III, a KC-10 Extender pilot with the 76th Air Refueling Squadron, 514th Air Mobility Wing, has apple cider poured on him by his daughter, Samantha, after completing his final flight at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., May 18, 2018. Photo by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen/US Air Force, courtesy of DVIDS.

“Retention of these valued aviators remains at risk should operational demands continue to outpace our available force structure, shifting the burden of a high operations tempo onto our already stressed aircrew,” the Air Force budget document added.

To make up the pilot shortfall, the Air Force is also looking to add more pilots; the service’s stated goal is to train 1,480 new aircrew annually by 2024.

“Increasing production of new aviators remains the most significant lever we have to arrest aircrew shortages,” the Air Force stated.

To ramp up its pilot “production,” the Air Force is experimenting with an expedited pilot training curriculum for certain types of aircraft.

The Accelerated Path to Wings program trains transport pilots in about seven months, as opposed to the traditional 12-month undergraduate pilot training program. The expedited curriculum cuts flight time in the T-6 Texan II aircraft — which includes training in aerobatics and other skills that aren’t necessarily essential to pilots of large transport aircraft. Rather, Accelerated Path to Wings student pilots perform all their training in the T-1A Jayhawk.

The Air Force is also experimenting with “augmented reality training” to accelerate the pilot training curriculum and cut down on costs.

This article originally appeared on Coffee or Die. Follow @CoffeeOrDieMag on Twitter.

Intel

Here’s how you can buy a nuke on the black market

You can buy anything on the Bulgarian black market, including drugs, women, guns and even fully functional nuclear warheads.


Also read: We’re freaked out about Iran, but what other countries already have nukes?

Fascinated by a French reporter’s ability to purchase a nuclear warhead on the black market, American journalists from Vice travelled to Bulgaria to meet the man who sold it, according to the video below.

They met with Ivanoff, a former military intelligence colonel turned entrepreneur, whose business led him into the Saudi Arabian building industry. Through his business dealings, Ivanoff met with terror mastermind Osama Bin Laden, who was interested in making a “dirty bomb” out of radioactive waste. Ivanoff suggested why not get the real thing, a nuclear warhead.

Watch:

NOW: The US nuclear launch code during the Cold War was weaker than your granny’s AOL password

OR: 32 times when the U.S. military screwed up with nukes

Intel

How battle drills can be explained through a night of drinking

There are many clever ways to remember stuff from the Army’s study guide. “Low Flying Pilots Eat Tacos,” for example, is a great mnemonic for remembering the first 5 lines of your 9-line medevac. “Sergeant Major Eats Sugar Cookies” is a great one for trying to remember your operation orders. But there isn’t really accepted one for remembering the battle drills. So, instead of a goofy mnemonic, think of the 8 battle drills as the 8 stages of drinking at a bar with your buddies.


For the sake of brevity, we’re only covering battle drills at the platoon level. They’re the same in theory, but the designations are different for squad-level drills. And of course, there’s much more to each battle drill, this is just about remembering the basics.

Battle Drill 1: Platoon attack

Or, when you and your boys are headed out.

You guys are finally headed out. From here on out, you move as a single unit, you stay together as a single unit. Group up and head out. After all, fighting and drinking are the two greatest things an infantryman can do!

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter

Battle Drill 2: React to contact

Or, getting to the bar.

All the sights and sounds are coming at you at once. Bunker down in a spot that can serve you well — you may be there for a while.

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter

Battle Drill 3: Break contact

Or, moving around the bar.

There’s no such thing as retreat. You need to scout out a new spot and get there quick. If your boys see a better spot, follow them to it.

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter

Battle Drill 4: React to ambush

Or, you’re approached by someone you’re interested in, but you’re drunk.

You’re caught in the kill zone. You don’t want to stay in a place where you’re weak. Reposition yourself to give yourself the edge.

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter
Never leave a fallen comrade. Your boy may need a wingman. (Photo by Spc. L’Erin Wynn)

Battle Drill 5: Knock out bunkers

Or, when you’re trying to use the bathroom.

You observe where you want to “go” and wait until your perfect moment to strike — or take a piss.

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter

Battle Drill 6: Enter building/clear room

Or, coming home drunk off your ass.

You need to enter the doorway as soon as you can and get out of the kill zone. Be careful, if you or one of your boys is married, you might run into some “heat” for coming in at this hour.

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter

Battle Drill 7: Enter/clear a trench

Or, trying to curl up into bed.

Keep a low profile. You can adjust, but keep your eyes on the enemy (or the toilet, in case you have to hurl).

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter

Battle Drill 8: Conduct initial breach of a mined obstacle

Or, dealing with a hangover.

The key is to deal with this one slow and steady — no quick movements. Don’t do anything too stupid and let other people (breach team or EOD) handle it.

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter
Or just avoid doing anything. That works too. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Armando Limon)

Articles

The 13 Funniest Military Memes This Week

It’s Friday, you know the drill. Here are 13 military memes to make you laugh.


In Alien Guy’s defense, B-2’s are alien aircraft in most airspaces.

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter
And they can do nearly as much damage as those Independence Day aliens.

Hey, the weekend is here!

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter
Oh, um, I’m sure the weekend will be here soon.

 Now playing at your local recruiter’s office …

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter
… the story of a hardened piece of metal and the M16 he loved. And yes, it’s “Twilight.”

That moment when a recruiter’s lies …

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter
… are exposed by drill sergeant’s truths.

Loving civilian housing is a kind of mutual attraction.

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter
Seriously, a few pastors must spend all their time officiating junior enlisted weddings.

I’m not playing video games, I’m practicing tactics.

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter
Warning, no respawns in real life.

Fix your boot display.

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter

Tall tower where your screens and windows will show you everything on base …

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter
… except a single set of discharge papers.

I honestly believe he’s made this face in a firefight at least 1/2 a dozen times.

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter

His girlfriend probably requested this costume.

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter
Either that, or stolen valor is getting much easier to spot.

There is a way to motivate them!

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter
Then he took his fries back.

This is why the Army rarely “asks” for volunteers.

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter

ISIS just keeps looking for soldiers and Marines.

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter
We could also fit you in between PT and breakfast chow.

NOW: The Best Military Meals Ready-To-Eat, Ranked 

OR: The 7 Coolest High-Tech Projects The Military Is Currently Working On 

Intel

This is why Russia loves biological weapons so much

It’s no secret the Soviet Union had trouble keeping up with the United States in terms of heavy weapons during the Cold War. Even though the United States claimed there was a significant so-called “missile gap” between the US and the USSR, the reverse was actually true. 

In reality, though the Soviet Union kept a large number of intercontinental ballistic missiles, it preferred to spend on other weapons of mass destruction. The main reason was cost. Until the oil boom of the 1970s, the Soviet Union wasn’t as flush with cash as we tend to believe.

The USSR was looking for ways to be competitive in the arms race, but without the hefty price tag the United States military was paying to develop, build, and maintain its arsenal of nuclear ICBMs. 

According to defectors, the Soviets employed tens of thousands of scientists and workers to create alternative weapons of mass destruction, like chemical weapons but especially biological weapons. One Soviet scientist told the New York Times that biological weapons were very cheap, especially compared to nuclear and chemical weapons. 

Army Sgt. 1st Class Virginia Vaile-Nelson, a public affairs specialist assigned to the 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, conducts Nuclear Biological and Chemical training qualification at Camp Atterbury, Ind., Nov. 1, 2014.

Judging the weapons efficiency by how much it would cost to kill half the population of one square kilometer of the United States, there was just no comparison to biological warfare. 

“We calculated to achieve an effect [of killing half the population] in one square kilometer it cost $2,000 with conventional weapons, $800 with a nuclear weapon, and $600 with chemical weapons and $1 with biological weapons,” the scientist said. 

The Soviet Union created entire secret cities dedicated to developing biological weapons, often disguised as anti-biological weapons research stations. Even after signing onto the United Nations Biological Weapons Convention of 1972, the USSR continued to experiment with anthrax, tularemia, Q-fever, brucellosis, glanders, the plague, Crimean-Congo fever, typhus, botulism, Venezuelan equine encephalitis and smallpox. 

Many of these toxins were engineered to also be resistant to antibiotics and other common treatments for the diseases, forming “super” versions of the strains. 

It could also mass produce all of the biological agents on an industrial scale, even though it wasn’t necessary. Biological agents are difficult to weaponize for use against a military target. The Soviets had to keep its own weapons handlers from getting sick and spreading the pathogen, they had to deliver the weapons and then ensure it was resistant to treatment. 

By far the most horrifying examples of the effects of biological weapon use comes from the Soviet Union itself. In 1971, a smallpox weapon test accidentally infected the city of Aralsk in what is today Kazakhstan. It was powerful enough to be resistant to the smallpox vaccine and killed six people. In 1979, experimental anthrax spores escaped from a research facility in Sverdlovsk, killing 19 people before the virus was contained. 

The Soviets may have even used biological weapons in Afghanistan. In a 1999 book, former Soviet scientist Kenatjan Alibekov charges that the USSR sprayed glanders, bacteria found in  horses that can be lethal to humans, on Taliban rebels there. 

While weaponization is the most difficult step, it doesn’t take a lot of the pathogen to introduce it to a civilian population. As we have seen throughout the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, just a small introduction can have catastrophic effects on a population. Fallout from the spread of a disease can include hundreds of thousands of deaths, along with crippling production and economic consequences long before the pathogen is contained.

Intel

The F-35 Can’t Carry Its Most Advanced Weapon Until 2022

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter
Photo: Lockheed Martin


Lockheed Martin’s F-35B variant has hit yet another snag which could seriously impact the aircraft’s overall ability to strike at ground targets.

Now, the fifth-generation aircraft will be unable to carry the military’s latest and most advanced munitions for awhile.

Also Read: 17 Signs That You Might Be A Military Aviator

Due to a design oversight, the internal weapon’s bay of the F-35B is too small to carry the required load of the new Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II), Inside Defense reports, citing the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Program Office. The SDB II is a next-generation precision-strike bomb that was meant to dovetail with the F-35 program.

The F-35B was designed to carry eight SDB IIs inside the internal weapons bay. These bombs would allow the F-35 pilot to target eight points from 40 miles away and with complete precision. The SDB IIs can also change course in-flight to follow moving targets through laser or infrared guidance systems, according to Foxtrot Alpha.

However, the F-35B can only fit four of the required bombs in its weapons bay. The F-35B variant has a significantly smaller internal bay than the F-35A and F-35C due to the aircraft’s design as a short-takeoff-vertical-landing aircraft.

Inside Defense reports that the “Navy initially wanted to field the SDB II first on the F-35B/C but is instead bringing forward integration with the F/A-18 Super Hornet. The SDB II is an F-35 Block 4 software capability and the release of that software load has been pushed back to FY-22.”

In other words, because the SDB II is included with the weapon Block 4 upgrade for the F-35, the aircraft is now likely to not field the new munitions until 2022.

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter
F/A-18C releasing a laser-guided bomb. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

F-35 spokesman Joe DellaVedova confirmed to Inside Defense that the SDB II problem has been known since 2007 and the more difficult changes to the aircraft have already been made in order to allow it to field the munitions.

“We’ve been working with the SDB II program office and their contractors since 2007,” DellaVedova said. “The fit issues have been known and documented and there were larger and more substantial modifications needed to support SDB II that have already been incorporated into production F-35 aircraft.”

The F-35B variant is the Marine Corps model of the plane and 34 aircraft have already been delivered to the branch. The delay in implementing the SDB II will not affect the aircraft’s ability to fly but will limit the operations that the F-35B will be able to effectively carry out.

More from Business Insider:

This article originally appeared at Business Insider Defense Copyright 2015. Follow BI Defense on Twitter.

Intel

Donald Trump: ‘I always felt that I was in the military’ by attending a military school

Donald Trump never served a day in the military, but he tells a biographer that he “always felt that I was in the military” with his attendance at a military school in his teenage years, according to excerpts from the forthcoming book obtained by The New York Times.


The book, “Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success” by Michael D’Antonio, will be published on Sep. 22. In interviews with the author, Trump reflects on his five years spent at the New York Military Academy as something akin to actually serving in uniform.

“My [Vietnam draft] number was so incredible and it was a very high draft number,” Trump told D’Antonio. “Anyway so I never had to do that, but I felt that I was in the military in the true sense because I dealt with those people.”

Of the academy, which notes on its website that most graduates do not pursue a military career, Trump said he received “more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military.”

This isn’t the first time Trump has spoken on military service. In July, he attacked Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his record in Vietnam, saying “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Check out the full report at the Times

Intel

Taliban interrupts soldiers’ cookout, soldiers care less and keep grilling

Nothing comes between a man and a perfectly-grilled steak. Not even enemy fire.


Though this video is a few years old, it’s been making the rounds once again on various military blogs and Facebook pages (we found this one via Brian Jones at Task Purpose).

The video shows a group of soldiers grilling some steaks at OP Vegas in the Korengal Valley, according to the description. But while they are cooking up their delightful meal, the bad guys decide to start shooting.

While many of the soldiers begin to fire back, at least a couple stick around for the more important task of not overcooking the steaks. “The steaks are fine, that’s all that matters,” one soldier says in the video.

Watch (language warning):

SEE ALSO: The 6 types of people you meet outside of every military base

Intel

This is the ultimate special operations weapon

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter
Image: courtesy of FN Herstal


NATO wanted a replacement for its 9x19mm Parabellum firearms; what it got is the ultimate special ops weapon.

The FN Herstal P90 is a compact but powerful sub-machine gun. It was designed for vehicle crews, support personnel, special forces and counter-terrorist groups.

It’s an ugly futuristic-looking weapon. The bullpup design with ambidextrous controls and top-mounted magazine make it unconventional. But make no mistake, this is an incredibly useful weapon. It’s so effective that it’s currently in service with military and police forces in over 20 nations throughout the world, according to this video.

Watch:

American Heroes Channel, YouTube

Intel

The British Army is forming a new Ranger Regiment

The name Ranger commands respect in the military community. Synonymous with top-tier units like the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, the Philippine Scout Rangers, and the Nepalese Mahabir Rangers, they are elite warfighters in the military community. The U.S. Army’s Rangers trace their history back to Francis Marion, the legendary Swamp Fox who employed guerilla tactics and maneuver warfare against the British during the American Revolution. The British Army, who also fielded a Ranger unit during the Revolution, are forming a new Ranger Regiment for the 21st century.

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter
A soldier from 4 RIFLES advises Iraqi forces (MOD)

In early 2021, the UK Ministry of Defence announced the formation of a new special operations brigade, the core of which will be the Ranger Regiment. Comprised of four battalions, the regiment will be a proactive rather than a reactive force. “The best way to prevent conflict and deter our adversaries is to work alongside partners to strengthen their security and resilience,” said Defence Minister Ben Wallace. “These Ranger battalions will be at the vanguard at a more active and engaged armed forces.”

Over the next four years, £120 million will be invested into the formation of the new brigade, with the Rangers receiving a portion of the funds. The thousand-strong regiment is scheduled to be established in August 2021 and hopes to deploy by early 2022. To build its ranks, the Ranger application is open to all members of the British Armed Forces. However, the regiment will begin an exclusively infantry unit. Four specialized infantry battalions, 1 SCOTS, 2PWRR, 2 LANCS, and 4 RIFLES have been selected to seed the regiment. They will form the nucleus of what will eventually become an “all-arms, all-Army” unit.

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter
Mortarmen of 2 PWRR conduct a live fire (MOD)

As global threats evolve, so too must the warfighters that meet them. Basic infantry skills will be vital to any prospective regiment applicant. However, Rangers will have to adapt to the complexities of the modern battlefield, “Matching brainpower with firepower, data and software with hardware,” said Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith.

The new Ranger Regiment will be routinely deployed around the globe, supporting allied nations in defense and security operations. “They will be able to operate in complex, high-threat environments, taking on some tasks traditionally done by Special Forces,” the Defence Command Paper said. “This work will involve deterring adversaries and contributing to collective deterrence by training, advising and, if necessary, accompanying partners.” So far, Mozambique and Somalia have been announced as two countries under consideration for the Rangers’ first deployment.

Intel

Here is why the US is the most powerful country that has ever existed

It’s no secret that the U.S. spends more on its military than any other nation and over four times what the second place country, China, spends. So it’s no surprise that the U.S. has the largest presence outside of its borders.


While the rest of the world maintains about 30 overseas bases combined, the U.S. has 800 that we know of. These range from huge installations with thousands of troops to tiny airfields on remote islands.

This Vox video explains how these bases were set up, how they’re funded, and more.

Watch:

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