Northrop Grumman received huge stealth bomber contract- to be built in SoCal

By George Miller

The Pentagon is unleashing many billions of dollars over the next decade to build up to 100 hi-tech stealth bombers. The prime contract was awarded to Northrop Grumman.. It is likely that much of the work will be done right in SoCal, although policy is to spread subcontracts widely for political reasons. Thousands of jobs would be created. Palmdale is a likely location for final assembly, but multiple SoCal locations/subcontractors should reap much of the bounty. This will very likely affect Ventura County significantly, since commuters, nearby subcontractors and relocations will all figure in.


Technician makes final adjustments to new stealth bomber prototype.

However, Southern California’s notorious high costs and infamous business-hostile climate may cause more work to be sourced outside the state than the home team would like. Nonetheless, government officials, aerospace/defense companies and workers are ecstatic about the possibility of any  industry revival in SoCal.

Per the LA Times:

In an announcement at the Pentagon that took industry experts by surprise, the Air Force said Northrop had beaten a team from Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. to build 80 to 100 long-range bombers over the next decade.

The project’s cost could eventually exceed $80 billion, making it one of the most expensive in the Pentagon’s history.

The development contract alone would be $20 billion, plus $550 billion per copy for the bombers. Yes, you read that correctly. But, they would supposedly be cheaper than the B-2’s, which were said to cost close to $2 billion each, considering all development, production, change orders and support contracts over the total lifecycle. traditionally, airplane programs have had huge cost overruns, due to changes, problems in developing never before used technologies/concepts “on the fly,” changes in requirements and even political considerations. The B-2’s were only used for non-strategic bombing, thank God.

This was a highly contested award. Boeing/Lockheed Martin, the expected winner, but losing bidder, will likely contest the award. Typically, the losers get some of the spoils in this game, in the form of subcontracts.

Some say that the nation cannot afford more such costly projects. Others say we can’t afford not to and musr have the strongest possible deterrents. While there is undeniable advantage in a vehicle which can deliver very heavy bomb loads anywhere in the world while being very hard to even detect, there are questions whether this program makes sense. Opponents have stated that missiles or drones could accomplish the same objectives cheaper and with no risk to aircrew. The new bomber might also have unmanned capability, but is quite expensive.



Some other news on this important development:

Pentagon awards Northrop Grumman stealth bomber contract

CNN International21 hours ago

The Pentagon took a major step toward upgrading its bomberfleet Tuesday, awarding the …

More news for stealth bomber contract award

The Road To The New Bomber

Aviation Week

Northrop Grumman Wins Air Force’s Long Range Strike Bomber Contract

Defense News

Pentagon Upgrading Aging Stealth Bomber Fleet With Northrop Grumman Contract

Tech Times


George Miller is Publisher of and a “retired” operations management consultant, active in civic affairs, living in Oxnard.

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