Jump to search Jump to main navigation Jump to main content Jump to footer navigation

Global Security Newswire

Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

Produced by
NationalJournal logo

Air Force Brass: New Bomber to Exceed $550 Million Each

The price tag of the Air Force's new strategic bomber will likely exceed $550 million a unit, the service's military deputy for acquisition said on Wednesday.

"We get a lot of questions" on per-unit cost, Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles Davis said at an aviation technologies conference. "Is it going to be $550 million a copy? No, of course it's not going to be $550 million a copy, once you add in everything," Defense News quoted him as saying.

The Air Force in 2010 projected it would cost $550 million to acquire each of the 80 to 100 long-range strike aircraft it intends to buy. Officials have said it would be important not to exceed that figure so that skyrocketing procurement expenditures of the past would not be repeated, the publication reported.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh in November said the service would do everything it could to cap the per-unit cost at that level and would limit what technologies were included in the heavy bomber in order to meet the goal.

Davis, however, indicated there was some wiggle room to that.

"What it will be is $550 million in design constraints," the three-star general said. "So if we're going to set design constraints ... that limits the technology you bring in, it limits certain parameters and certain capabilities. By definition we have used a cost-controlled approach to that airplane to be able to curb some of the appetite we have for very new capabilities."

The envisioned bomber would have the ability to carry both nuclear and conventional weapons. Few other details about its desired capabilities are known, though future versions of the aircraft could be designed to be remotely piloted. Some outside analysts have been dubious about the Air Force's stated intention to limit the aircraft's costs, citing the service's long track-record of going over budget on big procurement initiatives.

The Pentagon is requesting $914 million in fiscal 2015 funds to continue design work for the aircraft.

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James late last month said she anticipates a request for proposal on the bomber to be issued this fall, Defense News reported separately.

Note to our Readers

GSN ceased publication on July 31, 2014. Its articles and daily issues will remain archived and available on NTI’s website.

NTI Analysis

  • Sub-Saharan Africa 1540 Reporting

    Oct. 20, 2015

    The UNSCR 1540 implementation process in sub-Saharan Africa has been slow. As of October 2011, 26 of the 48 states in the region have submitted 1540 national reports.

  • Latin America and the Caribbean 1540 Reporting

    Oct. 16, 2015

    This report is part of a collection examining implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, which requires all states to implement measures aimed at preventing non-state actors from acquiring NBC weapons, related materials, and their means of delivery. It details implementation efforts in Central America, South America and the Caribbean to-date.

Country Profile

Flag of United States

United States

This article provides an overview of the United States’ historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

Learn More →