U.S. Air Force Is Close to Inviting Bids for New Long-Range Bomber

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Global Security Newswire Staff
June 16, 2014, 9:11 a.m.

The U.S. Air Force could re­lease with­in days a fi­nal re­quest for pro­pos­als for the ser­vice’s next-gen­er­a­tion stra­tegic bomber, a seni­or of­fi­cial said.

A so­li­cit­a­tion pub­lished soon would put of­fi­cials on track to re­ceive in­dustry bids in the fall and fin­ish eval­u­at­ing them some­time early next year, Air Force ac­quis­i­tion chief Wil­li­am LaPlante was quoted by De­fense News as say­ing on Fri­day at the At­lantic Coun­cil in Wash­ing­ton. A con­tract award for the mult­i­bil­lion-dol­lar pro­ject is en­vi­sioned in the first half of 2015, LaPlante said.

Ini­ti­ation of the long-range strike bomber pro­gram comes as the Pentagon con­tin­ues to grapple with money prob­lems. The bomber port­fo­lio, in par­tic­u­lar, is set to eat a sub­stan­tial chunk of the budget be­cause the air ser­vice is plan­ning costly up­grades to ex­ist­ing air­craft while be­gin­ning to spend funds on the fol­low-on bomber at the same time.

LaPlante em­phas­ized that the ac­quis­i­tion ap­proach to the new pro­gram would be mod­u­lar, mean­ing that new cap­ab­il­it­ies can be in­stalled on the air­craft at any giv­en time, even after the ini­tial design phase is com­plete, De­fense News re­por­ted.

The Pentagon wants to have the new, nuc­le­ar-cap­able bomber op­er­a­tion­al in the mid-2020s.


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