William LaPlante, assistant secretary of theÂ U.S. Air ForceÂ for acquisition, has said the service will award the potential $80 billion contract for the Long Range Strike Bomber soon, Reuters reported Wednesday.
Idrees Ali and Andrea Shalal write that LRSB will succeed the Air Force’s aging fleet of B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers in support of efforts to boost U.S. air power, as LaPlante told reporters at a press briefing.
Lara Seligman reports Thursday on Defense News that LaPlante saidÂ the Air Force leadership wants to be careful in the selection process, which has already seen a six-month extension and a $460 million cut in its fiscal 2016 budget.
He also indicated the LRSB could be operational soon after the contract award because the bidders have previously provided component prototypes and scale models for testing their designs, the report said.
Seligman writes that the program is already in the mature stages of development because it is handled by the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office.
“[The] stable requirements and a mature platform design make us very confident in the cost and the execution of the program as we get ready to initiate, ” Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, the service’s deputy assistant secretary for acquisition, added during the briefing.
The report noted that the service also plans to announce the price of development comparable to the previously released cost target of $550 million for each plane in fiscal 2010 dollars.