The Air Force’s future bomber program is so secret that it’s impossible for outsiders to judge the merits of proposals submitted by the two industry teams. However, it is relatively easy to judge which team is more qualified to successfully execute the program. That would be the Boeing-Lockheed Martin team, a combination that far exceeds the credentials of the competing Northrop Grumman team in relevant experience, current capabilities, financial resources and past performance. For instance, Boeing and Lockheed Martin delivered over 300 military aircraft last year; Northrop Grumman typically delivers less than a dozen each year, and most of those are either manned turboprops or unmanned drones. Northrop says it is highly qualified because it integrated the stealthy B-2 bomber, but that plane is now 20 years old and much of the actual content was provided by Boeing. The fifth-generation fighters on which both Boeing and Lockheed have worked are far, far more advanced than the aged B-2, which is a maintenance nightmare. I have written a commentary for Aviation Week & Space Technology here.
Find Archived Articles: