Northrop Grumman 'positioned as a competitor' for NGAD, CEO says

By Michael Marrow / July 28, 2022 at 11:26 AM

Northrop Grumman is poised to compete for the Air Force's secretive Next Generation Air Dominance system, CEO Kathy Warden said today during the company's second quarter earnings call.

In response to a question about Northrop Grumman’s approach to NGAD, Warden said the company has gleaned valuable insights from its work on the B-21 Raider, initial delivery of which is scheduled for the end of this year.

“As we think about sixth-generation aircraft, we are in the process of building the first of those, the B-21, and that’s given us some fantastic experience and lessons that we believe we can apply to other sixth-generation aircraft,” Warden said.

“So, we’re positioned as a competitor,” she continued, referring to NGAD. “I think our government desires to have as broad [an] industrial base able to prime these large opportunities as possible, and we have been clear that we are investing and building our own capabilities and capacities to be able to be a contender.”

Speculation about prospective competitors for NGAD heightened after Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall stated the program entered the engineering and manufacturing development phase at a Heritage Foundation event last month. Contractors have so far been mum about their participation in the program.

The Air Force has offered few details about NGAD, except that it will include a “family of systems” approach that will incorporate crewed and uncrewed platforms and could require a new approach to acquisitions. Kendall has previously stated the platform will likely cost hundreds of millions of dollars per unit.

At the Heritage Foundation event, Kendall said the program is expected to field a new capability by the end of the decade.