Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Stealth Saga #12: Northrop Does a Victory Lap

India has built an RCS range for its future aviation development.

The Long Range Strike Bomber contract was awarded to Northrop Grumman.  Very little information was shared with the public about the aircraft.  It is reported to be $511M per plane in 2010 dollars and $564M in 2016 dollars.  There are lots of rumors as to what happened.  First is that NG took a very conservative approach to the project to make sure they would not go over on the budget.  Lockheed/Boeing (BoLock) supposedly went heavy on the new tech.  They supposedly kept within the budget requirements, but it might have alarmed the air force for the potential for cost overruns.  The BoLock design was said to be much faster, but the Northrop bird was far stealthier.  Rumors are also the renderings of the NG bird are fairly accurate, though some are saying it looks more like a flying dorito like the A-12 was than the cranked kite.  Many are also attributing NG's work on the still classified RQ-180.  We are expecting a protest from BoLock.  Northrop has launched a fluffy website about the bomber.

Minor update:  Boeing will 'vigorously debate' whether or not to protest the award and will have a decision within two weeks.

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