The two-star general in charge of the US Air Force’s nuclear mission says the Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) programme is “going exceedingly well” and meeting its major milestones despite a four-month delay to downselecting a prime contractor.
Maj Gen Garrett Harencak says he agrees with the $460 million funding reduction recently proposed by the house armed services committee for fiscal 2016, since the air force won’t be able to spend big on the programme until the contract is awarded anyway. Northrop Grumman and a Boeing-Lockheed Martin team are vying for the contract.
“We can keep this system on track and take those reductions,” he said at a 13 May Air Force Association event in Washington, noting that there would likely be years when money needs to be shifted from another account to support the bomber.
According to language in the committee’s defense policy bill, the four-month contract delay left the air force with $360 million in surplus funding appropriated for fiscal 2015 that can cover some of next year’s expenditures. The additional $100 million can be cut due to a “slower spend rate” in fiscal 2016. In total, the committee would fund the LRS-B at $786.2 million. The programme requires $14 billion in funding over the next five years.