USAF selects seven key partners to develop next-gen B-21 bomber

World Defense & Security News - United States
USAF selects seven key partners to develop next-gen B-21 bomber
The US Air Force has chosen several aerospace companies to work with prime contractor Northrop Grumman on the new long-range B-21 strategic bomber project, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James told a press conference. James said the companies are: Pratt & Whitney, BAE Systems, GKN Aerospace, Rockwell Collins, Spirit Aerosystems and Orbital ATK.
USAF selects seven key partners to develop next gen B 21 bomber 640 001Artist rendering of USAF's future B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber
(Credit: US Air Force)
"Pratt & Whitney will provide new engines, the other six will work on air frames [and other systems]," James stated on Monday.

Defence contractor Northrop Grumman won the award to be the prime contractor on developing the new long-range strategic bomber, which is expected to cost more than $500 million per aircraft, beating out a consortium of Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

The initial contract value will be worth more than $23 billion, US Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Walsh told the press conference.

The US Air Force has requested about $1.4 billion in research, development, testing and evaluation funds for the program in the upcoming fiscal 2017 budget. It has already invested about $1.6 billion in the program and expects to spend $12.1 billion on it over the next five years.

Eventually, the US Air Force may buy up to 100 of new stealth aircraft costing more than $50 billion, according to published reports.