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Monday, October 28, 2013

Next Generation Bomber Draws Boeing, Lockheed Interest

Woodrow Bellamy III

The U.S. Air Force's Long-Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B) program has drawn interest from its first announced major industry team, lead by Boeing and Lockheed Martin
 
 
[Northrop Grumman's B2 stealth bomber, the last bomber to be fielded, first entered service in the 1990s. Photo, courtesy of Northrop Grumman.]
 
One of the top acquisition priorities for the Air Force, the LRS-B program is an award for a Next Generation Bomber, an aircraft that will provide the U.S. with the option of holding any target at risk at any point across the globe, according to a spokesman for the Air Force. Initial operational capability is expected by the mid 2020s, and the Department of Defense (DoD) is targeting a unit cost price of $550 million. 
 
Initially, the Air Force wants a bomber capable of conducting manned operations, with unmanned capabilities to be added on after it enters into service. 
 
“Stable planning, along with efficient and affordable development and production approaches, enables our team to reduce development risk by leveraging mature technologies and integrating existing systems," said Dennis Mullenburg, CEO of the defense, space and security division at Boeing
 
The Pentagon is looking to use the new aircraft in raid and campaign roles, with the objective of penetrating the modern air defenses equipped with A2/AD, using a variety of stand-off and direct-attack munitions. 
 
Lockheed and Boeing, the nation's top two defense contractors, have teamed up in the past on the F-22 Raptor fighter jet and are also assisting with two of the Air Force's other top acquisition programs, the F-35 Lightning II and the KC-46A tanker. 
 
Northrop Grumman, manufacturer of the B-2 Stealth Bomber, is also expected to compete for the contract award. 

 

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