WASHINGTON — The two designs competing to be the US Air Force’s next generation bomber have undergone extensive testing by the service and are far more mature than previously known, to a level nearly unheard of in the Pentagon before a contract award, Defense News has learned. The designs also feature significantly improved stealth capabilities when compared to the B-2 and still feature plans for future certification of nuclear weaponry and the ability to be optionally manned. Considered one of the US Air Force’s three top acquisition priorities, the Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B) program has been kept primarily in the dark as the service weighs two competing proposals, one from Northrop Grumman, and the other from a team of Boeing and Lockheed Martin. A contract award is expected soon, with indications it could come before the end of September.
Some interesting details on the Air Force’s planned replacement for the B-2A Spirit bomber. This article paints the program in a fairly good light, highlighting the risk reduction and maturity of the design so far. Contrast that with this post from the same site, however.
There are almost infinite ways to count how much a program costs. Still, a variance of about $25 billion is a bit much.