Northrop Grumman
Northrop Grumman flying wing B-2 Stealth bomber.

Northrop Wins $7B Upkeep Contract for B-2 Bomber

May 6, 2024
The U.S. Dept. of Defense granted a five-year award for modernization and sustainment activities for the USAF’s 20 Stealth bomber aircraft.

The U.S. Dept of Defense issued a five-year contract worth up to $7 billion to Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. for modernization and sustainment activities for the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber fleet. The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract covers “enhancements, sustainment, logistics elements including sustaining engineering, software maintenance, and support equipment” for the B-2 program through May 3, 2029.

The comprises just 20 U.S. Air Force’s heavy strategic bomber aircraft. The B-2 Spirit, aka the Stealth bomber, is an intercontinental, subsonic flying-wing aircraft outfitted with stealth capability and designed by Northrop to penetrate anti-aircraft defenses. Over the 13 years it was in production, the B-2 gained unwanted attention for its extraordinary cost, as well as for the secrecy of the design.

Depot maintenance and other contractor work is also included in the award.

The work covered by the contract will be carried out at Palmdale, Calif., and at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.; Tinker AFB, Okla.; Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio; Edwards AFB, California; and Hill AFB, Utah,

Production of new B-2 aircraft ended in 2020, and the USAF reportedly will retire the program in the early part of the next decade. Along with the Boeing B-1 Lancer bomber, the B-2 aircraft would be replaced with the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider, in development now as part of the Air Force’s Long Range Strike Bomber program. The USAF has said that new aircraft would go into production in the 2030s, and enter into service by 2040.

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