Story updated on 11/1/2021 with new information about the origin of the illustration. See at the bottom of the page.
The new F/A-XX concept art and associated description was released last week in a NAVAIR document called “Navy Aviation Vision 2030-2035”. It was first spotted by Aviation Week‘s Defense Editor, Steve Trimble:
The illustration of F/A-XX shows canards and what could be “ruddervator” tailplanes similar to what the YF-23 technology demonstrator had, as pointed out by Steve Trimble. Notional or not, the illustration is significantly different to previous F/A-XX illustrations which showed tailless / Dorito shaped designs:
The illustration also shows the fighter alongside three types of “remote carriers” vehicles: Anti-Air, Electronic Warfare and Command and Control. The image shows some kind of link between the drones and the F/A-XX to illustrate the “Manned-Unmanned-Teaming“ or MUM-T concept.
As for the description associated to the illustration, it reads as follows:
The F/A-XX is the strike fighter component within the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) Family of Systems (FoS). It is planned to replace the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet in the 2030s. Its specific capabilities and technologies are under development, however analysis shows it must have longer range and greater speed, incorporate passive and active sensor technology, and possess the capability to employ the longer-range weapons programmed for the future. As the Super Hornets are retired from service, a combination of F-35C and F/A-XX will provide Navy tactical fighter aircraft capability and capacity within the CVW. The advanced carrier-based power projection capabilities resident in F/A-XX will maintain CVN relevance in advanced threat environments.
The F/A-XX is expected to be the fighter component of the Navy’s Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) family of systems. Although identically named, this program is distinct from the U.S. Air Force’s own NGAD program. The Navy’s NGAD program has sought to replace the payload capacity of the Super Hornets on carrier decks as the incoming F-35C Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter brings a stealthy fighter to the air wing. The program has had fits and starts over the last decade as the service has grappled with shaping the future of the air wing.
It turns out the image of the future F/A-XX fighter released by NAVAIR was actually created back in 2007 for a role-playing game. Below is the original artwork: