Defense contractor Northrop Grumman CorporationNOC will be accompanied by seven subcontractors on the B-21 stealth bomber program, on which it has recently begun work after Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. withdrew their protest.
The U.S. Air Force has also revealed the names of the subcontractors. Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp., would provide the engines for the long-range bomber. The remaining six subcontractors - BAE Systems Plc, GKN Plc, Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc SPR , Orbital ATK Inc OA , Rockwell Collins Inc COL and Janicki Industries - will work on the airframe or missions system of the aircraft.
Initially, the Air Force had anticipated expenditure of $23.5 billion to develop the new bomber, although it did not reveal the amount in the terms of the contract. However, analysts are now estimating costs in the range of $80 billion to $120 billion to develop and manufacture a fleet of 100 radar-evading bombers, which will transport weapons and other systems deep into enemy territories.
In its upcoming fiscal 2017 budget, the Air Force has appealed for approximately $1.4 billion in research, development, testing and evaluation funds for the aforesaid program. Over the next five years, Air Force expects to invest about $12.1 billion, having spent about $1.6 billion for the program so far.
The new B-3 bomber will replace Boeing's B-52s, which have been in operation since the 1950s. The Air Force plans to buy 80 to 100 of the new airplanes, with the first airplanes scheduled to enter service around 2025.
Northrop Grumman has a strong presence in the Air Force, and Space & Cyber Security programs. Northrop's product line is well positioned in high-priority categories, such as defense electronics, unmanned aircraft and missile defense.
Northrop currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).