The Air Force will pay $1 billion each for the first 21 of its new long-range stealth bombers under a deal announced Tuesday. The Air Force awarded the $55 billion-dollar overall contract to Northrop Grumman, which built the B-2 and is said to be planning a similar-looking aircraft as its replacement. For the first 21 airplanes, Northrop Grumman will be paid $21.4 billion. Lockheed Martin and Boeing put in a joint bid.
Most commentators agree that Northrop Grumman had a leg up in the competition on two fronts. It built the B-2, which the Air Force seems to have been pleased with, and it's a lot smaller than Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Some believe the win for Northrop Grumman was intended to prevent the other two main defense contractors from creating a duopoly. Regardless of the intrigue, Northrop Grumman now has some targets to meet for its breathtakingly expensive airplanes. Still, it's worth noting that the current fleet of about 20 B-2s cost $2 billion each. One B-2 was lost in an accident on Guam in 2008.
Looks like we should be able to replace the complete number of registered seaplanes and flying boats with the scraps of this contract.
Amazing planes... Enjoy the video...