The Department of the Air Force has released a classified solicitation to the industry, marking the formal beginning of the source selection process for the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) Platform. 

The NGAD acquisition strategy emphasises innovation, competition, and cost reduction, drawing from lessons learned in recent Air Force programs and leveraging open architecture standards.

In a significant development for the US Air Force, the Department of the Air Force has issued a classified solicitation to the industry for an engineering and manufacturing development contract for the NGAD platform. 

The release of this solicitation formally commences the source selection process and provides industry stakeholders with the essential requirements for NGAD, which is expected to replace the ageing F-22 Raptor.

According to GlobalData’s “US Defence Market 2022-2027” report, Military fixed-wing is the largest sector by forecast value. The cumulative market value is $147.9 billion, with a positive CAGR of 4.2%.

Source selection helps the contracting body achieve the best value for money and receive the highest quality goods from the contract. It will release a request for proposals (RFPs), which allows the body to release its requirements to potential contractors to solicit proposals, according to GlobalData. 

Drawing from lessons learned in recent Air Force acquisition programs, the strategy aims to maximise competition throughout the life cycle of the NGAD Platform. By incorporating open architecture standards, the government intends to create a more responsive industry base and significantly reduce maintenance and sustainment costs.

While the Department of the Air Force acknowledges the importance of transparency and information sharing, it emphasises that the technical and programmatic details of the NGAD Platform remain classified.

By adopting an acquisition strategy prioritising competition, innovation, and cost reduction, the Air Force is poised to develop a platform that enhances the nation’s ability to achieve air superiority and support the Joint Force. 

“The NGAD Platform is a vital element of the Air Dominance family of systems which represents a generational leap in technology over the F-22, which it will replace,” said Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall. 

It was reported in 2021 that the US could field the new fighter by 2029. A US Department of Defense (DoD) contract notification from 2021 offered a hint that the US could field a new fighter aircraft by FY 2029. It would see the US field a next-generation plane far quicker than comparative European development projects for future fighters.