Boeing and Lockheed Martin team up in bomber effort

On the nose: a B-52H Stratofortress. Boeing and Lockheed Martin team up to come up with a replacement. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
On the nose: a B-52H Stratofortress. Boeing and Lockheed Martin team up to come up with a replacement. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Boeing and Lockheed Martin are teaming up in an effort to develop a new bomber aircraft for the United States Air Force’s Long-Range Strike Bomber program, both companies announced on Friday. The goal is to develop an aircraft that will replace the B-52 Stratofortress and B-1B Lancer in the bomber role from the next decade onwards.

The US Air Force expects believes its current B-52s and B-1s will be safe to operate through 2040 and the B-2 Stealth bombers through 2058. The Stratofortress and the Lancer however are already vulnerable to enemy air defences. The B-2 has the ability to make it through defences, but the USAF’s guess is this capability won’t last forever. Therefore, the new aircraft will eventually probably also replace the B-2.

The Long-Range Strike Bomber program (LRS-B) aims to find that replacement bomber. The US has a need for up to 100 of these aircraft, that will almost surely be capable of manned and unmanned operations. The aircraft should first take to the skies some time in the next decade.

Boeing will act as the prime contractor and Lockheed Martin as the primary teammate, a statement said on Friday. The Lockheed Martin press release is here.

© 2013 AIRheads’ editor Elmer van Hest

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