Lockheed Martin and Boeing team up in a new USAF Long Range Strike Bomber program

Few days before Russia reminded the world its strategic bomber fleet is capable to deploy on intercontinental range (skirting the U.S. airspace) Boeing and Lockheed Martin announced they are going to team-up together against Northrop Grumman in the new US Air Force strategic LRS-B (Long Range Strike Bomber) program.

The partnership of Boeing and Lockheed dates back to 2008, when a Next Generation Bomber programme, cancelled in 2010, was on the run.

The LRS-B programme, announced in 2011, brought the partners back together. The companies are to use proven technologies – to minimize the risk. President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing Defense, Space & Security said:

Boeing and Lockheed Martin are bringing together the best of the two enterprises, and the rest of industry, in support of the Long-Range Strike Bomber program, and we are honored to support our U.S. Air Force customer and this important national priority.  Stable planning, along with efficient and affordable development and production approaches, enables our team to reduce development risk by leveraging mature technologies and integrating existing systems.

When it comes to the new bomber, USAF plans to order 80-100 airframes. These are to be long range and have stealth capabilities. The full operational capability would be achieved circa 2025.

The bomber is to use as many ready parts as possible to reduce the risk of failure. Price of a single airframe is estimated to be as little as $550 million.

Additionaly, a unmanned version of the bomber and a new long range missile are also going to be developed within the scope of LRS-B initiative.

The LRS-B budget for 2012 tax year was $581 million. $6,3 billion are planned for the period of 2013-2017.

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

Top image Credit: Boeing

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About Jacek Siminski
Standing contributor for TheAviationist. Aviation photojournalist. Co-Founder of DefensePhoto.com. Expert in linguistics, Cold War discourse, Cold War history and policy and media communications.