Northrop Grumman has once again included what appears to be a next-generation air superiority (NGAD) crew platform concept in its latest advertising. This follows another ad in 2021 that teased the same design, though that ad didn’t feature a wide-angle view of it.

The main video itself, which is only 15 seconds long, plays in the company former “hangar” reception. This sees us three Northrop Grumman employees discuss the contribution of women to the history of military aviation in the company’s “Advanced Aeronautics Hangar.” Referring to the all-female crew at Grand Forks Air Force Base that recorded the longest full-scale unmanned flight in 2014 military aircraft that do not refuel in the air (34.3 hours) – the trio continues to reflect on possible future contributions to aviation history at the company.

What we can only assume is a manned tactical jet concept similar to the NGAD can be seen in the video on the left. Unlike Northrop’s 2021 ad, which showed more detail on the nose of what appears to be the same concept, the new ad provides a better view of the airframe as a whole. As we mentioned in our previous article, the aircraft certainly seems to fit the NGAD bill – with no vertical tails, quite large with the supposed premium on range, payload and low observability (stealth). Top-mounted low-observable air intakes can also be seen. The design also features a very long chine line around the fuselage, as well as a B-2-like “beak” nose and a single pilot cockpit.

Two other videos from the same series give us a partial head-on view with a strong B-21 Raider vibe and a wider view away from the design in question.

It is not known how accurate the concept seen in the ad is in terms of Northrop Grumman’s manned NGAD platform design. It’s still interesting to see what they stick to as a placeholder, although there’s obviously going to be differences due to the sensibility of such a design. It’s also possible that the concept seen in the videos is based on elements of the real-life NGAD demonstrator that has been flying with the Air Force for several years. However, we still don’t know who built this experimental demonstration aircraft. may belong Boeing or Lockheed Martin. Just because a demonstrator belongs to any of these companies doesn’t mean there will be a production version racing now.

While Northrop’s current workload is certainly heavy on building the next-generation stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider, producing the crew component of the NGAD would be a huge win for the company, and it certainly has an advantage with the work it’s doing on the B. 21. This program is also, by all accounts, an amazing achievement in terms of relative time and budget. A manned NGAD aircraft will likely have much in common with a next-generation bomber, with many shared technologies as well as potential direct-carrying efficiencies. Beyond the crew component involving NGAD as the program rolls out, there will be other major opportunities that Northrop would like to be involved in as well.

Comprised of a group of so-called “family of systems,” NGAD refers to the United States’ multifaceted effort to deploy next-generation tactical air combat capabilities. While the acquisition of a new manned jet currently under development forms the core of the NGAD program, it also involves the development and production of potentially thousands of Joint Combat Aircraft (CCAs), new weapons, sensors, networking and battle management capabilities. lasers, advanced jet engines, etc. In addition, the NGAD will fit in, at least to a large extent, with the shadowy Long Range Strike (LRS) family of systems of which the B-21 is central.

The Air Force and Navy also have parallel initiatives in developing their own NGAD programs, including the above components. The Air Force recently said it envisions a conventional fleet of about 200 NGAD fighters, each costing “hundreds of millions.” The size of a fleet of similar aircraft for the Navy remains uncertain, with about $1.53 billion in the service’s proposed fiscal year 2024 budget to support development of the Next Generation Fighter jet, or F/A-XX, under its NGAD left. program. This was a major boost to how quickly the program was maturing.

However, the latest announcement certainly adds to the intrigue surrounding the NGAD program and Northrop Grumman’s possible involvement in the program, or at least its ambitions to build its crew component.

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