Note: The Pentagon announced in October that Northrop Grumman had won the design-build contract for 100 next-generation long-range strike bombers. The contract is estimated to be worth about $80 billion. Northrop Grumman beat out a consortium of Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Boeing has been building bombers for the Air Force for decades at its manufacturing facility in St. Louis, which was considered a likely manufacturing site if Boeing had won the contract. Northrop Grumman does final assembly and systems integration at Plant 42 in Palmdale.
[USAF, Feb. 16, 2016] – The Government Accountability Office denied The Boeing Co.’s protest of the Long Range Strike Bomber contract award following a comprehensive review of the source selection process. The Air Force was confident that the source selection team followed a deliberate, disciplined and impartial process to determine the best value for the warfighter and the taxpayer.
“We look forward to proceeding with the development and fielding of this critical weapon system. This platform will offer the joint community the required capability needed to meet our national security objectives and the evolving threat environment,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. “It is important to ensure affordability in this program and the ability to leverage existing technology as we proceed forward.”
The service plans to procure 100 LRS-B aircraft. The aircraft preserves the president’s options for missions across the full range of military operations from permissive to anti-access/area denial environments. It will serve as the air component of the nuclear triad, providing a visible and flexible nuclear deterrent capability.
“Our Nation needs this capability,” said Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Mark A. Welsh III. “The current bomber fleet is aging. The technology advantage the U.S. has enjoyed is narrowing. This new bomber will provide unmatched combat power and agility to respond and adapt faster to our potential adversaries.”
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