USAF to Announce Winner of $80b Bomber Contract
The United States Air Force is expected to award an extremely lucrative contract for the development and production of a fleet of 80 to 100 long-range stealth bombers. This initial contact is estimated to be valued at $60 billion, one of the largest contracts in Air Force history, and is the culmination of a four-year battle among three of the world’s leading military contractors.
Air Force leaders and Defense Secretary, Ashton Carter, will be revealing the winning bid at the Pentagon once the financial markets in New York close, in attempts to counteract turmoil in stock prices. According to U.S. officials, the contract will likely be awarded to either Northrop Grumman Corporation or a team comprised of Lockheed Martin Corporation and the Boeing Company. Regardless of who wins the contract, it has been speculated by aerospace analysts that a majority of the plane will likely be assembled at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale. This location is owned by the military, and is a 5,800 acre industrial park which is leased to aerospace contractors.
"The idea that we would run a Formula One or a NASCAR race with a car built in 1962 is ridiculous, but we're going to war with airplanes built in 1962," said the Air Force chief of staff, Gen. Mark Welsh III, at a news conference held in August. "We have got to modernize the Air Force. It's just an imperative."
Officials have suggested that this project will bring in more than 6,500 jobs to the area’s aerospace industry, which has been significantly impacted by shifts in Pentagon spending. In order to stay on track, this contract will probably require regular appropriations from Congress, as the initial projected costs are very likely to increase.
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