WASHINGTON, 28 Oct. 2015. The U.S. Air Force is investing billions in its air power, contracting Northrop Grumman Corp. to engineer, manufacture, and produce the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) military aircraft.
The LRS-B is intended to replace aging bombers, including the B-2 Spirit, also known as the Stealth Bomber.
"Over the past century, no nation has used air power to accomplish its global reach -- to compress time and space -- like the United States," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said during a Pentagon briefing announcing the contract. "Today, it's vital to innovate and reinvest in the people, strategies, and technologies that will allow America's military to be dominant in the second aerospace century.
"Building this bomber is a strategic investment in the next 50 years, and represents our aggressive commitment to a strong and balanced force," Carter continued. "It demonstrates our commitment to our allies and our determination to potential adversaries, making it crystal clear that the United States will continue to retain the ability to project power throughout the globe long into the future."
“We face a complex security environment,” said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, noting that the LRS-B is critical to national defense and a top priority for the Air Force. “It’s imperative our Air Force invests in the right people, technology, capability, and training to defend the nation and its interests – at an affordable cost.”
Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James makes the announcement about of the award of the long range strike bomber contract with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, during a press briefing in the Pentagon, Oct. 27, 2015. During her comments, James stated that we need to invest the right people, technology, capability, and training to defend the nation and its interest--always with affordability and tight budgets in mind. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)
The future threat will evolve through the introduction of advanced air defense systems and development of more capable surface to air missile systems. The LRS-B is designed to replace the Air Force’s aging fleets of bombers – ranging in age from 50+ years for the B-52 to 17+ years for the B-2 – with a long range, highly survivable bomber capable of penetrating and operating in tomorrow’s anti-access, area denial environment. The LRS-B provides the strategic agility to launch from the United States and strike any target, any time around the globe, officials say.
The B-2 Spirit, also known as the Stealth Bomber, also was engineered by Northrop Grumman Corp.
“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,” said Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Chief of Staff of the Air Force. “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 Long Range Strike Bomber contract includes two parts. The Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase is a cost-reimbursable contract valued at $21.4 billion (in 2010 dollars) with cost and performance incentives that minimize the contractor’s profit if they do not control cost and schedule appropriately.
The second part of the contract includes fixed price options with incentives for cost for the first five production lots, comprising 21 aircraft out of the total fleet of 100. Based on approved requirements, the Average Procurement Unit Cost (APUC) per aircraft is required to be equal to or less than $550 million per aircraft (in 2010 dollars) when procuring 100 LRS-B aircraft. The APUC from the independent estimate supporting today’s award is $511 million per aircraft (in 2010 dollars). Based on current LRS-B independent cost estimates, the Air Force projects the APUC for the program will be approximately a third of the previous B-2 stealth aircraft.
The LRS-B is designed to have an open architecture allowing integration of new technology and timely response to future threats across the full range of military operations. This open architecture also provides the opportunity to retain competition across the life cycle of the program.