Monday, August 17, 2015

Uncertainty Surrounds the Cost of New Bomber - Blog

Uncertainty Surrounds the Cost of New Bomber - Blog: Questions remain about whether the Air Force will be able to meet its cost and quantity targets for the new long-range strike bomber as the service prepares to announce which industry team has been chosen to build the aircraft, analysts said.

The Air Force plans to acquire 80 to 100 bombers at an estimated cost of $550 million per plane. Research-and-development costs for the jet are projected to reach $25 billion.

During an Aug. 13 roundtable discussion hosted by the Center for a New American Security, a Washington, D.C-based think tank, defense experts noted that much remains unknown about the Air Force’s requirements for the aircraft, which is a top secret program. Black areas include range, speed, service ceiling, payload capacity, the types of ordnance it will carry, and how it will preserve stealth capabilities in the decades to come.

“There’s a logic that says invest here [and] make it the stealthiest you can make it,” said Andrew Hunter, an industry analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “There are other technologies that you are going to probably have to add to … the original design to keep ahead of the threat.”

Air Force officials have publicly stated some of the requirements for the new bomber: It must be stealthy, nuclear-capable, and optionally manned or unmanned.