Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 30, 2014

The New Stealth Bomber Is (Finally, Maybe) Coming

158859200 445x233 The New Stealth Bomber Is (Finally, Maybe) Coming

A stealth bomber flies over the parade route during the 124th Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2013 in Pasadena, Calif. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

The Air Force’s top acquisition chief said Friday that the department is “days away” from seeking proposals from industry on the mostly classified new Long-Range Strike Bomber, one of its three top procurement priorities. Unless it isn’t: “I’m learning in the Pentagon, ‘days away’ can go on for a long time,” William LaPlante joked.

Speaking at the Atlantic Council, LaPlante shared additional information on the timeline and expectations for the bomber that the Air Force plans to buy 80-100 of by 2026 at a cost of as much as $550 million each (although affiliated costs could drive the price up, and analysts suggest the total price could near $81 billion).

The new bomber has been under development since 2007, got derailed shortly thereafter and has since been reborn in modified form as a “family of systems.” For fiscal 2015, the Obama administration has requested $914 million in research and development for the project. The program is secretive enough that the Government Accountability Office recently criticized the Defense Department’s nuclear budget forecast for not including any bomber spending in part out of fear that the information was too sensitive.

And the current bomber fleet is aging rapidly.

The final request for proposals from industry is about to hit the street “soon,” LaPlante said, with the plan being to receive proposals by late  summer or early fall, followed by source selection — determining the proposal with the best value — by early next year.

Some industry heavy hitters, like Northrop Grumman, are expected to seek the contract, with Boeing and Lockheed Martin already announcing a team last year to go for it.

LaPlante said he wasn’t able to discuss too much about what was involved given classification, but he said the Air Force would be looking for “relatively mature technologies” and would want to “build the first version knowing it’s not going to have everything on it we want or will want.”

The other top procurement priorities LaPlante mentioned are the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and KC-46A refueling tanker.

  • http://none.com Jack Everett

    The Pentagon CEOs are keeping their self busy supporting the military industrial complex pigs while allowing children to go hungry and parents living in the streets. Stop all military industrial complex funding until it’s small enough to fit in a kitchen sink.

    “The role of the intellectual, so it is said, is to speak truth to power. Noam Chomsky has dismissed this pious tag on two grounds. For one thing, power knows the truth already; it is just busy trying to conceal it. For another, it is not those in power who need the truth, but those they oppress.” -</i? Terry Eagleton

    • fuzzball

      Until Islamic fanatics knock on your door rape your wife and daughters and then take and train your sons to strap bombs on and then you will say “Where is the government, why are they not doing something?” Kind of like 9/11 when everybody said it was the governments fault we should have known and done something to prevent it. The time to prepare is BEFORE not after.

      • Raj

        By that time it will be Sunni govt in America if America does not stop immigration from middle east.

      • Suitcase Jefferson

        I don’t know how buying a bunch of a fancy new gazillion-dollar stealth bombers does anything to prevent that scenario.

        • stpn2me

          And you are not meant to. The next military invasion or enemy we are facing are not worried about “Suitcase Jefferson”. They are worried about the United States Military.

          • mike larson

            Pure dribble. When people like you stop questioning our Military spending, than people like Cheney will just keep smiling. Scary.

          • Jersey_Prophet

            I’m happy to see Cheney smiling because when he is, America is safe. When I see obama smiling, I know it’s in danger.

        • Shangheyed

          Protect your cultures, peoples and civilizations from the convert or die cult by any means neccessary, everywhere else there is SUBMISSION.
          Even Mecca was taken by force.

      • http://none.com Jack Everett

        Just stay in your duct taped closet so they can’t find you.

      • mbrogan007

        Amen….finally some common sense.

    • Thomas Parker

      I wish the world was peaceful enough to stand down all militarys and their respective defense spending. Unfortunately reality says it isn’t so. However, if you feel that deeply against your country please go forth and tell the masses how wrong they are. I highly suggest someplace that truly needs the sermon, say Ukraine/Russian border, Syria, Iraq heck even the Israeli/Palestinian could stand to listen to it. Otherwise put your money where you mouth is, vote out the incumbents that keep these outrageously overpriced defense contracts going. I know I voted against all the incumbents in my state this year, and can’t wait to not only out the current President but to vote against the likely GOP candidates as well. Perpetuating this current two party, corrupt system is only giving the US the Government it deserves.
      Oh, and after serving my country for over 20 years I know that the defense procurement system is corrupt and riddled with over-paid lobbiests who seem to do whatever they can not to provide what is needed, but only what they can the most money for.

      • sgtRock101

        Worn out and proven wrong many times. The country was designed for just two parties. that’s what we have and for the most part it works for us. Sending out the devil you know for the devil you don’t is stupid.

    • Progressive=Communist

      So Jack, let’s open our borders to millions of poor hungry unhealthy Mexicans, central and South Americans, drug dealers, et al in exchange for election votes. To hello with our country. It’s the Democrat leftist party that is most important, right Jack?!

      • http://none.com Jack Everett

        I know you want to make these border jumpers citizens for your corporate friend but I will continue to protest it. To hell with the country resides in the house of obstruction wing nuts that hate Americans. Why don’t you go back and ask Reagan why he lied about securing the borders.

      • j johns

        In the immortal words of the dear leader “If it saves one child, it’s worth doing”

      • sgtRock101

        Wack job for sure.

    • Paul Hawkins

      So you do not live in reality eh? Quoting dead “intellectuals” does nothing to solve the issues…and your ramblings are stuck in the 60s…This country will be soooooo much better off when you old “yippies” die off…really…

      • http://none.com Jack Everett

        Coward scum do not solve anything.

    • SAWolf

      Hungry and not fed? 67% of Americans are either dangerously overweight or obese . BTW Defense spend 625+Billion, Entitlements, 1.3 Trillion per year and Entitlement growing rapidly.

      • http://none.com Jack Everett

        You need to buy a real version of the constitution and start reading on the military.

  • Fiji’s Best

    Although governments conjure up illusions of their own omnipotence, the effectiveness of such illusions becomes more limited with each day.

  • agsb

    Who knows, it may be a hybred!

  • PS Miller

    Wouldn’t the money better be spent on developing the intercontinental rail gun?

  • billsimpson

    Elon Musk could form a company and do it cheaper.

  • Michael Inflorida

    Thought the next air war was gonna be cheap drones?

    • Juiced

      Unfortunately at the moment, drone technology is having difficulty handling heavier aircraft on anything other then basic flight maneuvers. And without that ability, drones are limited to the size of the ordinance that it can carry. A Hellfire can take out a tank, medium bunker, small building; but larger or heavier targets need the larger ordinance that is limited to fighter/bombers and bombers.

      • Michael Inflorida

        n. A form of wit that is marked by the use of sarcastic language and is intended to make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule. “What is sarcasm, Alex?”

        • Juiced

          usually designated with a /s to separate true sarcasm from boneheaded comments. :P

      • martykayzee

        Any vehicle. i.e.: aircraft, can be retrofitted to be remotely piloted. Old F-4s are being dusted off as highly manoeverable remotely piloted practice targets. No reason a B-2 couldn’t be outfit.

        • Juiced

          No reason much at the moment, the last I looked into it (about March) was they were having stability problems with larger aircraft then fighters. There was a project on using smaller cargo aircraft retrofitted for radar picket (data transferred to interested parties) as well as a compliment to sub hunting aircraft. More maneuverable aircraft such as the smaller F4 fighter have a better chance of of recovery in abnormal operations that could happen in retrofitted aircraft, but the control surfaces of larger aircraft were unable to react quickly enough to do the myriad of multiple actions needed by larger craft to regain stability. DARPA and the US Navy almost lost 2 test COD Greyhounds they were using for testing, and the fact that pilots were on-board kept the aircraft from losing complete control.

          As to a B-2, that would be a different story as the computer mainly flies the plane anyway and the computer controls are already built in and tied to almost every part of the control surfaces. During a typical B2 flight, the pilot ends up being a passenger and the computer maintains stability, control surfaces, engine throttling, and can even release weapons with no imput from the crew. It’s not that much of a stretch to turn a more modern aircraft into a drone as it is already on the verge anyhow.

          • martykayzee

            Right you are. Autonomous carrier landing was an acid test. One issue is latency. There could be as much as a minute lag over crowded networks. Swarm technology, as well as more BW is in the works.

          • Sam

            You would not want to handle a time critical issue such as carrier landings over a say as 802.11 based network. Point to point reserved channel communication is the singular answer. Thus no latency. A simple handoff from one system to the other when turning final would resolve any latency issues. Easy fix!

          • martykayzee

            Right again, Sam. I was a USAF TAC GCA/RAPCON controller back in the ’60s. Now retired stockbroker. My elder son is with GA-ASI in Poway and works on code for the pending FAA RPA regs. Up in the air, junior birdman.

        • sgtRock101

          Foolish

          • martykayzee

            Why do you write that? Are you admitting to being foolish?

  • Allan Frazier

    Now let me get this straight. We’re considering spending excessive tax dollars on a weapons system that is designed for the Cold War? What? Oh, WTH build a few more nuclear subs too. SMH!

  • william crisler

    21ST CENTURY WARFARE, LASERS

  • sydchaden

    Are we sure that we want to do this? Isn’t it risky? Putin seems content to fly Bear bombers to the US coast, even though they could be easily done away with. China needs a heavy long range bomber, to go with its expansionist policies and threats to destroy the USA. They undoubtedly have already stolen the US concept designs, and are simply waiting for the US to do the development work, so they know what to make. If the heavy bomber is a drone, could Iran “capture” it? Will another Snowden take off with the designs? It’s a tough world.

    • j johns

      Please no hard questions..

    • Adheeb

      The Chinese walked off with American designs years ago when Bill Clinton was guarding the front door the Chinese used the back. If it weren’t for that, the Chinese would still not have placed a man in space. If the Chinese get a man on the Moon by 2019 they’ll only be 50 years behind us.

  • Adheeb

    “And the current bomber fleet is aging rapidly”

    We are still using B-52s, the newest if which was built in 1962. They are more than 50 years old, although maintained and upgraded many times. However, you really don’t need stealth technology to bomb goat herders in Afghanistan. When was the last time a B-52 was shot down? 100 B-52s could be built for far, far, far less than entirely new technology. These proposed new planes aren’t going to cost $550 million each …. more like a billion dollars per copy and the Washington politicians in DC have already bought the stock of the company that will build them.

    • wiseman

      agreed, gave you an up vote.

    • sirock

      I’m sure they will work well against the Chinese too. It’s a good thing you just a drunk instead of someone who really matters.

      • Adheeb

        The Russians are still using prop jobs and the Chinese don’t have a strategic bomber. That’s a thought, you can’t get shot down if you’re not flying.

        • sirock

          So SAM’s are not a threat? Both countries are working on stealth aircraft and high speed anti Aircraft rockets thanks for sharing your insight. I guess after our equipment will be ineffective would be a good time to address this.

  • Sam

    Generally, I am a hawk on weapons development. But, I cannot come up with a mission for a new long range bomber. It is completely unnecessary. Modern fighter-bombers have more than enough lift capacity and penetration to accomplish any reasonable mission. Plus, it is easier to stealth a smaller vehicle. Land and sea based missiles can handle the strategic deterrence mission. If you want to pound a converntional army to jelly, as we did to the Iraqis, a B-52 is more than adequate. For that matter, a C-17 with a bombing package would do the same job. Sorry Air Force, but the days of the large manned bomber have come and gone. Concentrate on drones and space based weapons instead. Much more payback in those systems.

  • ChoirLoft

    Oh happy day. Another weapon in the hands of Washington criminals. And once this thing is operational, what then? Why of course we’ll have to concoct ANOTHER WAR to justify the expense. As long as it’s packaged like another sports contest (with overtime included of course) America can justify the effusion of yet more blood and treasure for yet another futile and pointless battle.
    ***
    USA hasn’t won a war since 1945, but that doesn’t stop the blood suckers in Washington from starting another one.

    IF GOD DOESN’T JUDGE AMERICA, HE WILL HAVE TO APOLOGIZE TO SODOM AND GOMORRAH.

    and that’s just me, hollering from the choir loft…

    • sgtRock101

      Wacko

  • Thomas Parker

    Feel free to leave it if you live here, it’s such a free country that we certainly won’t stop you.

    • http://none.com Jack Everett

      You fascist pigs will be taken care of iN November so practice with your crying towel wing nut.

      • Thomas Parker

        Troll much? LOL
        What a joke.
        Oh and these words you use? Fascist pig? I don’t think they mean what you think they mean (at least in terms of me and my comment).
        Thanks for playing though.

        • http://none.com Jack Everett

          Go suck on KOCH some more you deserve it.

  • Paul Hawkins

    I think Jack Everett seems to be just some angry ex yippie that is just
    trying to piss people off…just another poor misguided elderly folk
    that is still pissed off his “model” of the country didn’t pan out from
    the 60s….he has tried every angel he can think of to try and get at
    the people he feels “betrayed” by…LOL…sad…he need to just take his
    Geritol and blood pressure meds and let the REAL WORLD go on around him, and realize he is no longer relevant…
    Only a couple more years of your rantings, and ,hopefully, you will go
    away permanently…bye!:)
    Oh, and I just “can’t wait” to see your
    lame, ineffectual response, including crap like the incorrectly used
    “fascist pigs” and “down with the man” or something equally as dated and
    stupid…c’mon grandpa, what other stupid comments can you make?? Let us see…….

    • BigBill

      Gee Paul, you must feel really threatened to rant like this.

  • wiseman

    Because international relations between Russia, China and the US have become strained and contentious, it is necessary to plan for conflict and produce the most advanced bomber possible given technical and fiscal limitations.

    Any new bomber, must be ultra-stealthy and ultra-long-range or it will not survive over Chinese or Russian air space.

    • http://none.com Jack Everett

      Their will not be any bombers hanging over Russia or China.

      • wiseman

        Everyone is entitled to their opinion, even you. You have every right to state what you did.

        Consider this, I was a USAF navigator and planned and quality controlled B-52 strike missions.

        Those aircraft could not survive in acceptable numbers if they had to attack targets in Russia or China in a modern automated command, control and communications environment where defensive and offensive capability is incredibly powerful.

        China stole our space and air surveillance, bomber and fighter technology through hacking DOD and contractor data stores to ensure that their technology had an edge over ours. More than likely, they shared some of their results with Russia. Nations only do that when they suspect that they will need to use that technology against their perceived enemies in the future.

        It is foolish not to be prepared to deal with Russia and China, given the fact that those countries are developing advanced bomber technology.

        Support the development of a new strategic ultra stealthy and ultra long range strategic bomber. It will be worth the investment.

      • Sched

        LOL, stop being silly.

    • david95

      Why would it be over Russian or Chinese air space?

      • wiseman

        First of all, thank you for responding to my post.

        In my earlier life, I planned and quality-controlled battle plans for B-52 strike missions. I know how difficult it is to attack targets in a high-tech networked air defense environment, where data sharing is super-efficient as opposed to a low tech environment where it is not.

        I will not tell you exactly what I did. So, please don’t ask.

        I will try and keep this short and to the point. Sources will be available upon request.

        Russians stole the Crimea and now want to steal eastern Ukraine. Pro-Russian forces are believed to have shot-down MH-17, which killed 298 civilians.

        Casus Belli is clearly present against the Russian federation by a justified EU and the US, right?

        I currently do not believe that war will break out between Russian, Pro-Russian, US, EU and Ukrainian forces, but I am smart enough not to rely on belief. Probably, the west will supply Ukraine with modern military technology, but no boots on the ground, except those needed to secure the MH-17 crash sites.

        Is better to plan and prepare for that possible contingency, rather than wish one had it when one desperately needs it, right?

        In regard to China, notice that it behaves along a neutral path in global politics, but not in regard to contested lands on its economic borders with the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan and Japan.

        It is only a matter of time before China will have a military strength superior to the US forces available to operate there.

        China does not believe that Taiwan is an independent nation. It will perhaps steal it at some time in the future because it has already stolen much land from others.

        It is only a matter of time when victim nations may say enough already and militarily resist China.

        Because of uncertainty in the direction of global politics, it is wise to be prepared to deal militarily with both Russia and China, right?

        Both China (Hongzha-6K, a copy of the US B-2 ) and Russians (T-60s, an amazing aircraft) are developing ultra-stealthy ultra long range bombers on the basis that bombers can be used multiple times or recalled, while missiles cannot.

        Pearl Harbor taught the world that if one fails to plan, then one plans to fail, right?

  • Observer974

    With much of the work on this new airframe and weapons system being handled by H1-B workers, the plans, details of the design, likely parts, are already for sale in India. This happened with both the B1 and B2 bombers. A country that refuses to employ its own citizens for these jobs, that calls “immigration reform” a ten fold increase in those foreign workers, while there are already more than two native born US citizens, unemployed US tech sector workers, for every tech, software, and science job in the country, doesn’t even deserve to exist.

    • sgtRock101

      No they are not.

  • http://none.com Jack Everett

    You can go back into your closet now coward Koch sucker we don’t need any of your dark ages bullshit.

  • F M

    What good are new weapons when we have a foreign policy that treats friends like enemies and enemies like close family members?

    • sgtRock101

      Todays friends may be tomorrows enemies. Just be glad you have a defense capable of defending you.

      • F M

        A defense capability is secondary to a political structure that will use it correctly. Yesterday’s friends are no longer running our government, today’s enemies are. Hopefully this is only temporary. In the meantime I feel queasy thinking these guys are in charge of our armed forces.

        When they decided not to defend the Bengahzi embassy, our people died. They didn’t and won’t defend our border and we face disastrous consequences.

        The Pentagon has been largely purged of anyone who disagrees with them. If they decide to use the armed forces against citizens, who will stand up to them?

      • UnionLeague

        Are you talking about Germany, Japan and Vietnam? LOL!

        • david95

          No, I think he was talking about the U.K.

    • david95

      Maybe that is WHY we need newer weapons, because we keep making more enemies.

  • sgtRock101

    They were much to expensive to operate. They required thousands of men to man; modern ships in the hundreds.

  • Shangheyed

    And poor at Geography… wouldn’t have a clue which way is Mecca… and its pray 5 times a day… the extra two helps with the brainwashing… 3 times a day not nearly enough to eliminate your Humanity.

  • Ratt Stone

    Uh, that Tanker and Fighter are already 10 years old.

  • DannyGane

    why invest so much on stealth bombers??? are you planning to invade and rule the planet earth when your economy finally collapse due to overspending on research on development on new technologies and then just being pirated by other countries at a fraction of your spending? a wild imagination…

    • Bucker

      It will be used by the one world government to control the entire world
      Its no longer about the US
      We already have bombers that are barely broke in

  • david95

    Instead of making 100, make 99 and send me 550 million dollars. :)

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