If their team wins the bomber competition, Boeing will be the prime contractor for the Long-Range Strike Bomber program and Lockheed Martin will be the “primary teammate.”
The arrangement brings together nearly two centuries of combined experiencing developing major military aircraft. The two companies partnered on the Air Force’s most advanced in-service fighter, the F-22 Raptor. In addition, Boeing is developing the Air Force’s KC-46 tanker, and Lockheed Martin is prime contractor for the new multi-service F-35 fighter.
“The team will be able to produce unique and affordable solutions that could not be achieved without partnering,” the companies said in joint press releases.
Northrop Grumman, a potential competitor, did not respond to requests for comment.
The Air Force has said little publicly about its plans for the bomber program, other than that it’s a priority, that it intends to buy 80 to 100 aircraft and that it hopes to begin fielding the new planes in the mid-2020s. The Air Force’s current bombers – the B-1, B-2 and B-52 – are aging, with the oldest aircraft, the B-52H, having entered service in the 1960s.
The Air Force's fiscal year 2014 budget request includes $379 million for the bomber; Congress has yet to act on the request.
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