What will the US Air Force Digital Century Series change in military aircraft construction?

Two days ago, US Air Force chief of aviation programs Will Roper stunned audience when he announced that a demonstrator of the future air superiority aircraft program, the Next Generation Air Dominance, intended to replace, among others, the USAF's F15C Eagles and F22 Raptors, had been developed in great secrecy, and this in less than a year, and had already made its first flight. This declaration was indeed in total contradiction with the evolution that the aeronautical defense programs have known over the last 40 years, and which were marked by particularly long development times, and spectacularly high costs.

To obtain this result, Will Roper relied on a new way of designing and manufacturing demonstrators, based on a strong integration of new digital engineering technologies, and processes experienced for many years in engineering. software. The bet seems to have paid off particularly since the design and manufacture of the demonstrator seem to have been contained in an envelope of "only $ 1 billion", well below the habits of the US Air Force in recent years. In addition, according to the statements of the "czar of acquisitions", as Will Roper is nicknamed within the Pentagon, the demonstrator which carried out its first flight effectively incorporates many of the technologies identified by the USAF for its future program, in thus making a program demonstrator, and not a simple technological demonstrator.

The Digital Century Series offers to build 5 specialized devices in consecutive limited series, rather than building a versatile device, and provides an overall budget saving of 10% over the life of the fleet.

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