Two giant American firms Boeing and Lockheed Martin are to cooperate on a new long-range bomber project for the US Air Force as the military is seeking to replace its aging bomber fleet.
The companies said in a statement on Friday that Boeing would be the prime contractor and Lockheed would be its primary subcontractor.
“Boeing and Lockheed Martin are bringing together the best of the two enterprises, and the rest of industry, in support of the Long-Range Strike Bomber program, and we are honored to support our US Air Force customer and this important national priority,” Dennis Muilenburg, chief executive of Boeing, said.
US Air Force spokesman Ed Gulick said the cost of each aircraft is estimated at $550 million and the total value of 100 planes would be $55 billion.
He added that deliveries are due to begin in the mid 2020s “before the current aging fleet goes out of service.”
The new bomber should be designed using “proven technologies” to create a long-range, nuclear-capable and optionally remotely piloted aircraft, the Pentagon said.
Meanwhile, Orlando Carvalho, vice president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, said the companies would be joining their “collection of technologies, capabilities and resources to affordably design, develop, produce and sustain the bomber program.”
The two firms are already behind two of the Air Force’s largest programs, as Lockheed is the prime contractor for the F-35 fighter while Boeing is producing the new KC-46A tanker. They also teamed up on the F-22 stealth fighter.