Tag Archives: Northrop Grumman

T-X competition narrows as Northrop Grumman backs out

The offerings in the US Air Force’s T-X program are getting rather thin now that Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems have withdrawn their T-X model from the competition. Northrop Grumman announced the decision in a statement today. The move follows last week’s similar decision by Leonardo and Raytheon to withdraw the T-100.

According to the statement, ‘Northrop Grumman and its principal teammate BAE Systems have carefully examined the U.S. Air Force’s T-X Trainer requirements and acquisition strategy as stated in the final request for proposals. The companies have decided not to submit a proposal for the T-X Trainer program, as it would not be in the best interest of the companies and their shareholders.’

The announcement was expected for quite a few days already, as Northrop Grumman earlier hinted at not entering the competition.

This leaves on Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) in competion with their T-50, plus Boeing and Saab with a newly designed jet. A decision on the winner is to be announced some time in the next few years.

The T-X program is aimed at replacing many dozens of ageing US Air Force T-38 Talon trainer aircraft. Northrop Grumman’s T-X model was first sighted at Mojave airport in California in August 2016. It performed its first flight on 24 August 2016.

First Japanese E-2D “radar plane” in production

The first of four Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Airborne Early Warning & Control aircraft for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) has entered production at the new production plant in St. Augustine, Florida, the company has confirmed.

Bringing together what was previously spread out over several buildings, the 121,390 square metres (370,000 square foot) assembly hall can currently produce eight aircraft a year, to be increased to a maximum of 12 Hawkeyes in 365 days if needed.

13 E-2Cs in service

The Delta Hawkeyes are equipped with APY-9 Radars, and will join 13 JASDF E-2Cs already flying with 1st Hiko Keikai Kanshitai (squadron) out of Misawa Airbase, although Tokyo is considering locating the new E-2Ds at a different location.

US Navy Advanced Hawkeye

Apart from the Japanese military, the US Navy ordered 51 E-2Ds, with 22 of them delivered so far. The first operational cruise of the Delta occurred last year, with VAW-125 “Tigertails” squadron on board the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71). The Japanese Advanced Hawkeyes will be land-based only, with the first planned to arrive in 2018.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye (Image © NAVAIR / Northrop Grumman)

Unveiled: US long range strike bomber becomes B-21

The future US Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) was officialy designated B-21 in a statement made by US Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James on Friday 26 February. On the same occasion, a computer rendering of the new design was unveiled, looking very similar to the B-2 Stealth bomber and disappointingly not revealing much more than that.

According to James, the new bomber is a key element in the future US defense strategy. It should  add ‘unheard of capabilities’ to the US long range strike arsenal. The Pentagon says it will need 80 to 100 new longe range bombers to replace B-1 Lancers and B-2 Stealth bombers.


Northrop Grumman las October was announced the winning contractor for the B-21 (formerly LRS-B) program. The company also designed and built the B-2. Lockheed Martin and Boeing contested the decision, but a court recently ruled that the selection of Northron Grumman upholds.  On Friday 26 February, both Lockheed Martin and Boeing said they will take no further legal action.

Name contest

An actual name for the Northrop Grumman B-21 will be chosen in a selection process that is open to suggestions from US airmen. The winning name is to be presented this fall.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

Northrop Grumman to build new US bomber

Northrop Grumman has been selected to develop and build the new long range strike bomber for the US Air Force under the LRS-B program. The company beat joint competitors Lockheed Martin and Boeing. The decision was made public during a briefing in Washington DC on Tuesday 27 October.

The LRS-B program is thought to be one of the biggest defense programs over the next decades, with value estimates over 80 billion USD. The program was started in 2009 and a request for proposal was issued to contenders in 2014. The announcement of the winner was on the cards for several months already.

The US Air Force says it needs 80 to 100 new longe range bombers to replace B-1 Lancers and B-2 Stealth bombers. The first contract should be for 21 aircraft. Initital operational capability (IOC) is to be reached in 2025 and the new design should see service for fifty years at least. Unit price is an estimated 560 million USD.

Northrop Grumman is the same company that developed the B-2, the type that ended up costing about 2 billion USD a piece after the order was cut to just 20 planes in the nineties. There should at least be some doubt about the unit price for the LRS-B.

Northrop Grumman nevertheless says the Air Force has made the right decision. Wes Bush, Northrop Grumman chairman, chief executive officer and president,: “As the company that developed and delivered the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, we look forward to providing the Air Force with a highly-capable and affordable next-generation Long-Range Strike Bomber.

“Our team has the resources in place to execute this important program, and we’re ready to get to work,” Bush added.

B-1B Lancer
he LRS-B will replace the B-1 as well as the B-2. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Lockheed Martin and Boeing express disappointed by the announcement. A statement says:  “We are interested in knowing how the competition was scored in terms of price and risk, as we believe that the combination of Boeing and Lockheed Martin offers unparalleled experience, capability and resources for this critically important recapitalization program.”

The development of the new bomber should be seen as a clear signal to Russia, China and other challenging Washington’s domination of world affairs, that the US still takes its role as the world’s police very seriously.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): An LRS-B teaser image released earlier by Northrop Grumman. (Image © Northrop Grumman)

‘US to select new longe range bomber on Tuesday’

The Pentagon is to select the winning team to develop and build the new US Air Force Long Range Strike Bomber on Tuesday 27 October, sources say. The LRS-B program is thought to be one of the biggest defense programs over the next decades, with value estimates over 80 billion USD.

UPDATE 27 October | Northrop Grumman has been selected as the winner. More is here at Airheadsfly.com

The decision will be between Northrop Grumman on one side and Boeing and Lockheed Martin jointly on the other. The former can say it was behind the B-2 Stealth bomber, while the latter can say it has gathered valuable experience and data – along with cost overruns – with the F-35 program.

The US Air Force is said to need close to 100 new longe range bombers to replace B-1s and B-2s. The first contract should be for 21 aircraft.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): The LRS-B will replace the B-2 eventually. (Image © Master Sgt. Robert Trubia / US Air National Guard)