Northrop Grumman Will Make the Next Stealth Bomber

The ‘bomber of the future’ still awash in secrecy

The Long Range Strike Bomber will join the B-2 (above) in the U.S. Air Force bomber fleet.

The U.S. Air Force announced today that Northrop Grumman has been chosen to build the Long Range Strike-Bomber. The LRS-B idea has been around since 2009, and three concepts from Boeing, Lockheed, and Northrop Grumman, were chosen in 2012 to compete for the contract.

Although the Air Force has picked the winning design, officials are revealing almost nothing about it yet, not even a concept illustration. When the competition was started, the companies were instructed to base their designs heavily on the B-2, in both shape and stealth capability. And we can guess that like the newer fighters in the Air Force inventory, the bomber will be loaded with a wide variety of  intelligence-gathering sensors. The winning design includes everything that will go in the aircraft, including the powerplant. But those details will remain secret for now. We do know that the per-aircraft cost will be around $511 million, which is less than the $550 million projected in 2012; the entire program is projected to cost approximately $80 billion.

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