Contractors are working on risk-reduction contracts for the secretive and stealthy long-range strike-bomber (LRS-B) program, the former deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Air Force for acquisition disclosed. During a panel discussion at the Air Force Association (AFA) Air and Space Conference near Washington, D.C, on September 17, retired Lt. Gen. Mark Shackelford said the contracts serve as a technology “bridge” to the future bomber following the cancellation of the Next Generation Bomber (NGB) program in 2009.
The Obama administration has proposed a $526.6 billion defense budget for Fiscal Year 2014 that continues funding for developmental priorities, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the KC-46A tanker and a future long-range bomber. The President’s base defense budget does not include funding for overseas contingency operations in Afghanistan and does not reflect budget cuts mandated by sequestration.
Facing an uncertain budget environment in the coming months, the U.S. Air Force will nevertheless continue developing a new long-range strike bomber (LRS-B) capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear weapons. “Long term, we’re committed to the long-range strike bomber. We’re going to try to keep programs like that on track,” Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said.