NATIONAL HARBOR, Md., Sept. 16 (UPI) — The U.S. Air Force promises to disclose development costs for its Long-Range Strike Bomber program, a top official announced Tuesday.
Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition Dr. William LaPlante maintains officials are not trying to hide the cost of development, but would rather wait until more operational phases are completed before disclosing an official amount.
“We don’t expect anybody just to believe us at face value,” LaPlante told reporters at the Air Force Association’s Air and Space Conference.
The cost to be announced will include design and risk reduction, as well as the money the Pentagon spent on a previous bomber replacement program over the last decade. That program, known as the Next-Generation Bomber, was for a subsonic aircraft originally scheduled to enter service in 2018. The program was scrapped in favor of the Long-Range Strike Bomber program.
LaPlante says the Pentagon took affordability for the program very seriously, setting a target price at $550 million [2010 dollars], a price that has remained fairly stable from the start.
The announcement for an eventual disclosure of development costs comes as the Air Force begins overhauling maintenance procedures for existing B-2 stealth bombers currently in service.
The Air Force is set to select one of two ambitious designs for the LRS-B, which are intended to replace aging fleets of B-1 and B-2 bombers. Private industry teams are still awaiting news from the Pentagon on which company will receive the assignment. The two main competitors are Northrop Grumman and a joint partnership between Boeing and Lockheed Martin.