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We’re only five years away from a new, totally awesome, very real, and not a complete crock of kleptocratic hot air, sixth-generation starfighter with laser cannons, proton torpedos, USB chargers, and live Twitter-streaming AI. So, says the Air Force!

The U.S. Air Force is preparing to radically alter the acquisition strategy for its next generation of fighter jets, with a new plan that could require industry to design, develop and produce a new fighter in five years or less.

On Oct. 1, the service will officially reshape its next-generation fighter program, known as Next Generation Air Dominance, or NGAD, Will Roper, the Air Force’s acquisition executive, said during an exclusive interview with Defense News.

Under a new office headed by a yet-unnamed program manager, the NGAD program will adopt a rapid approach to developing small batches of fighters with multiple companies, much like the Century Series of aircraft built in the 1950s, Roper said.

“Based on what industry thinks they can do and what my team will tell me, we will need to set a cadence of how fast we think we build a new airplane from scratch. Right now, my estimate is five years. I may be wrong,” he said. “I’m hoping we can get faster than that — I think that will be insufficient in the long term [to meet future threats] — but five years is so much better than where we are now with normal acquisition.”

Now, don’t go and remind them that they announced this back in 2008, putting them over six years behind schedule already. And, best not to mention that some things have changed (just a little) in ‘Murica since the 1950s.

I’m sure it will be just fine. After so many years and hundreds of billion$, they’ll launch something that can fly for ten or twelve miles, very slowly, at an altitude of 10 or 12 feet, only on a clear Thursday in February, before crashing into an apartment complex. My biggest worry is that I may bump into one while cruising chicks in my flying car! That, I still expect to have by 2021 2033, 2055 never.

In echelon we carry on…