The United States Air Force is on the cusp of announcing the recipient of its contract for a new long range strike bomber. According to a report from Reuters, Air Force acquisition chief William LaPlante reported on Wednesday that officials are very close to reaching a final decision.
Some of the biggest names in the defense industry are vying for the Air Force’s contract to supply up to $80 billion worth of new bombers. Northrop Grumman Corp, the company that makes the B-2 bomber, faces a joint effort from Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corporation for the deal.
The competition to see who would be the supplier of the bombers began in July 2014, and the Air Force initially planned to announce the winner in the spring of 2015. The decision has been delayed multiple times since then, and only now are officials reporting a finished deal.
According to LaPlant, the project was designed so that bombers could be easily upgraded when new technology emerges or new requirements are written. Despite this requirement, the planes in consideration are expected to be more advanced than anything available today.
The Air Force wanted to pay $550 million for each plane in 2010 dollars, and said that its offer would be adjusted for inflation in 2016. The price of the planes the Air Force hopes to pay in today’s dollars would be roughly $606 million.