Addressing the US Air Force Association’s main annual symposium at the end of 2020, acquisition chief Will Roper touted a new era where rapid design and experimentation of new aircraft, including the ‘manufacturing’ and ‘flight testing’ of them will take place primarily in the digital realm.
In a bombshell revelation, the US Air Force claims to have secretly designed, built, and mission-tested a new prototype fighter jet – something that most observers did not expect to happen for another decade.
The interview by the Acquisition Czar came ahead of the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference on 14-16 September 2020.
According to the outlet, the Air Force managed to develop the new fighter in the staggeringly brief period of about a year, first producing a virtual version of it, and then proceeding to build and fly a full-sized prototype.
Roper did not offer any information regarding how many prototype aircraft have been flown, which defense contractors manufactured them, and was similarly tight-lipped regarding any aspects of the aircraft’s design.
What is important, according to the US physicist and foreign policy strategist, is that the Air Force has proven it can wield cutting-edge advanced manufacturing techniques to build and test a virtual version of its next fighter, followed up by construction of a full-scale prototype which can be flown with mission systems onboard.
“This is not just something that you can apply to things that…