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HASC Chair Reluctant to Fully Invest in Next-Generation Air Force Stealth Jets

NGAD program

HASC Chair Reluctant to Fully Invest in Next-Generation Air Force Stealth Jets

Rep. Adam Smith, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said he is reluctant to fully commit funding to the U.S. Air Force’s future stealth fighter.

The Next-Generation Air Dominance program, the effort by the Air Force to field a family of sixth-generation fighters, had entered its engineering and manufacturing development phase by the start of June, Breaking Defense previously reported.

Department of the Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, a scheduled speaker at the Potomac Officer Club’s Air Force Summit and a three-time Wash100 winner, recently told lawmakers that each NGAD fighter could cost several hundreds of millions of dollars, FedScoop reported Wednesday.

In an interview with the news outlet, Smith said that NGAD might be a capability that the United States needs to get to ahead of its competitors. However, investing large sums into the project is risky as the technology might end up not being needed or not work as advertised, he added.

“I’m always like reluctant to put a whole lot of chips in the middle of a table when you don’t know for sure,” Smith told FedScoop, adding that a better understanding of the program is first needed before the government can invest in it.

He said that while he has concerns over NGAD, he said he does not plan to cancel it, adding that he is satisfied with the program’s structure and use of digital engineering. 

Kendall has said that the NGAD jet could achieve initial operating capability before the end of the decade. 

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Tags: Adam Smith Breaking Defense FedScoop Frank Kendall HASC NGAD Speaker News US Air Force