The U.S. Air Force has awarded an enormous contract to Northrop Grumman to replace its aging fleet of bombers. The contract covers the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) and early production for a new Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B), and could be worth as much as $77 billion in 2010 dollars.
The Air Force’s current fleet of bombers range in age from 17-plus years for the B-2 to 50-plus years for the B-52, an Air Force press release said. The design goal for the new LRS-B will be the capability of launching from the United States and striking “any target, any time around the globe.”
The contract is set up in two parts. The EMD phase is a cost-reimbursable contract estimated to be worth $21.6 billion in 2010 dollars. The second phase, the production side of the contract, comprises up to 100 airplanes with a value of as much as $550 million per airplane.
“As the company that developed and delivered the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, we look forward to providing the Air Force with a highly-capable and affordable next-generation Long-Range Strike Bomber,” said Wes Bush, chairman, CEO and president of Northrop Grumman. “Our team has the resources in place to execute this important program, and we’re ready to get to work.
Northrop Grumman plans to execute the project in Palmdale, California, at a plant leased from the military where the B-2 bomber was produced, the Los Angeles Times reported. The project would boost the ailing southern California aerospace industry, adding about 1,400 jobs.
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