CORRECTED THE PENTAGON: The Pentagon wants production of the Air Force’s new bomber put on the fast track, despite the program’s $500 million per-plane price tag.
DoD Comptroller Bob Hale wants the bomber, known as the Long-Range Strike aircraft, to move as quickly as possible through the development and production phases. His comments came during an Aviation Week-sponsored event in Arlington, VA. Service leaders hope to have an aircraft ready for initial operations by 2020, Marilyn Thomas, budget chief with the Air Force’s assistant secretary for financial management, said this week. The Air Force has already set aside $292 million in research dollars for the bomber in their fiscal 2013 budget request. The service plans to spend $6.3 billion into the effort over the next five years. Once developed, the new bomber will replace B-1Bs and B-2s. The new plane will be designed to evade advanced aerial defense systems, employ stealth technologies and carry nuclear weapons.