The US Air Force has announced the awarding of the development and early production contract for the Long Range Strike Bomber.
The Long Range Strike Bomber will be a long range strategic bomber for the United States Air Force, intended to be a stealth aircraft capable of carrying thermonuclear weapons. Initial operating capability is expected in the mid-2020s. The US Air Force plans to purchase 80–100 LRS-B aircraft at a cost of around $600 million each.
Northrop beat a team from Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The announcement is the biggest contract out of the Pentagon since the F-35.
Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Mark A. Welsh said:
“The LRS-B will provide our nation tremendous flexibility as a dual-capable bomber and the strategic agility to respond and adapt faster than our potential adversaries, we have committed to the American people to provide security in the skies, balanced by our responsibility to affordably use taxpayer dollars in doing so. This program delivers both while ensuring we are poised to face emerging threats in an uncertain future.”
The initial value of the contract is $21.4 billion, but the deal could eventually be worth $80 billion if the US Air Force purchases all 100 of the proposed aircraft.