The U.S. Navy has ordered the development of a new deck aircraft that will replace the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet in the future. According to the American media, the new aircraft will be developed as part of the NGAD (Next Generation Air Dominance) program, already launched by the U.S. Navy.
It is stated that the program envisages the creation of a completely new aircraft, rather than the improvement of already produced models, despite the fact that the fleet is proposed to combine the designs of the fifth generation F-35 and F/A-18 fighter with modern technologies for the creation of future aircraft. It is specified that the design will take into account the capabilities of the F-35C, but the new aircraft should eliminate all the shortcomings inherent in fifth-generation fighters.
The U.S. Navy plans that the new aircraft will significantly expand the range of aircraft carriers. It is already known that the new vehicle must have a combat radius of at least 1,000 nautical miles. It is possible that the aircraft will be produced in single-seater and two-seater versions, although a variant of the unmanned version is likely. No other details have been released.
The Fleet Command plans to take service with the aircraft as early as the early 2030s, as the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet deck will begin to withdraw from the Navy just at this time.
The program to create a new deck fighter in the U.S. has been announced for a long time. Last December, the U.S. Congress limited the allocation of funds for a prospective aircraft. However, the U.S. Navy hopes that as part of the reduction in the allocated funds for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet program, the money saved will be redirected to the new aircraft.