The United States will begin serious development of prototypes for so-called sixth generation fighters — successors to the F-35 and F-22 — for the Navy and the Air Force in the 2016 budget, says the head of Pentagon acquisition, Frank Kendall.
The Aviation Innovation Initiative is a new effort, not an agglomeration of existing DARPA programs, Kendall told me during a vote break at today’s hearing. He declined to say how much money the new initiative is getting, only calling it “significant.” I would assume that means between $150 million and $500 million or so for the first few years, given the fact they are developing airframe and engine prototypes. Developing several bleeding edge prototypes — which is what a DARPA effort like this would presumably target — could not be done for peanuts.
The main goals of this effort — aside from developing and proving technologies — is to preserve the defense industry design teams that are crucial to building aircraft (and who don’t have much work right now) reduce lead times and reduce program risk, Kendall told us.
Keep reading this article at: http://breakingdefense.com/2015/01/kendall-unveils-sixth-gen-fighter-project-for-2016/