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Published On: Tue, Dec 15th, 2015

Northrop and Boeing compete for Largest Arms Contract

The job is simply too big, is already after the first round of lost to surrender. Currently, the aircraft manufacturer Northrop Grumman, Boeing and Lockheed Martin are shaking who must build the next bomber for the U.S. military. The order has a value of 80 billion $.

End of October shot at Northrop Grumman, the smallest of the three American arms companies, the champagne corks in the sky: the US air force had contracted the company to the construction of the next American long-range bombers LRS-B. In the next few years, Northrop Grumman to 100 bombers for a fixed price of 80 billion $ deliver.

While the industry had expected that the consortium of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, which have specially bury their rivalry for this major project, would come to the course. But the bust Boeing and Lockheed to be dumped: the company before a month complaint filed. Now, the procurement is checked again. The American rules expressly provides that for large military orders.

Opposition against award to Northrop Grumman –  Northrop and Boeing compete for weapon contract.

The protest can tip still the award. This has seen Airbus as the European Group received an order for the new flying tanker of the United States air force. In a revision procedure, this job then went to Boeing. Be challenged can an award decision, if it could have come to irregularities such as bribes.

The same thing is possible when assessing individual technical aspects of the proposed weapon system does not support a later review. Nevertheless, the United States air force seems pretty sure to be that of the bomber of the century will be built by Northrop Grumman. However, there are still no indications as to how the test could go out in US media.

Showpiece of Northrop’s B-2 bomber

Northrop has extensive experience in the construction of modern bombers. The B-2 bombers from Northrop was able to build only 21 copies, before the Pentagon canceled the program for various reasons, including extreme cost overruns, has been technical showpiece.
The LRS bomber, short for (long range strike bomber), in that alludes to the B-2 as the new development is a so-called just-wing bomber. The aircraft has a classic hull, nor a conventional empennage. Rather, everything is integrated into the wings.

Northrop and Boeing compete for Largest Arms Contract of the Decade

B-2 long-range bombers dropping bombs. It is so far disputed whether the successor of LSR-B will have also nuclear weapons on board. Photo: Northrop Grumman

The U.S. air force as well as the Northrop Grumman remain silent so far completely about all details of the LRS-B. Sources of information about the bombers are primarily suppliers, who are however also conspicuously covered. Engine supplier will be Pratt & Whitney. The LRS-B will have two engines, although single supplier not entirely rule out a three bombers.

New bomber should be invisible to the radar

The LRS bomber is characterized by a set of properties. First, it explicitly is a long-range bomber, whose bases are located very far from potential adversaries. Secondly, this bomber for the radar to fly almost invisibly. So, there will be a so-called stealth aircraft. Third Board without risk of falling to can take as any previous other bomber of the United States air force the LRS-B greater damage or system failure on. Fourthly this aircraft to can integrate very quickly and cost-effectively future weapons systems and electronic equipment.

The American forces have apparently learned from various technical difficulties and setbacks in the past. This means that the LRS bomber able must be not difficult to communicate with every other American weapon system of the air force, the ground forces and the Navy, and technically to cooperate. This also includes open mission system (OMS), which is characterized by the Pentagon as “open architecture”. OMS aimed to let in the future all new weapons and systems of the armed forces also now communicate to build bombers. This required so-called upgrades or development stages to expire quickly and cost-effectively.

 Northrop and Boeing compete for Largest Arms Contract of the Decade

Despite the extremely high cost of 80 billion $ – it will be the largest defense contract of the decade – the Pentagon is so far satisfied the financial agreement with Northrop Grumman. There are 23.5 billion $ classified as development costs. The price per aircraft is a total 100 to building bombers without development costs amount to about 500 million $.

Northrop and Boeing compete for Largest Arms Contract of the Decade

B-2 Spirit Bomber

However, the question is whether it will be actually doing. The development of almost all major weapon systems of the past were characterized by significant cost overruns. The contract with Northrop Grumman stipulates that the company builds the first 21 bombers who take part in flight and system testing. If this a satisfactory solution for the final bomber has been found, will be the remaining 79 machines very quickly produced and converted the referred to 21 on the same technical status.

The so-called century bomber

American bombers such as those of the Russians is characterized by an unusually long usage life. The legendary B-52 of Boeing, which is still used today in large numbers, is more than 50 years old and is supposed to fly another 20 years. A beyond rising life expectancy is scheduled for the LRS-B. This aircraft operated for 100 years could well be someday.