Pratt & Whitney confirms participation in USAF's B-21 programme


B-21

Pratt & Whitney has officially secured a contract to build engines for the US Air Force's (USAF) long-range strike bomber (LRS-B), designated the B-21.

In October 2015, the USAF awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman for the production of LRS-B, in a bid to replace the air force's aging fleet of bombers.

The move is a part of USAF's efforts to modernise aircraft to provide warfighters with enhanced capabilities.

Currently in its engineering and manufacturing development phase (EMD), the programme aims at developing a new long-range, highly survivable bomber capable of penetrating and operating in the future anti-access, area denial environment.

According to the USAF, the independent estimate for the EMD phase is $21.4bn in 2010 dollars.

The second phase of the contract features options for the first five production lots that include 21 aircraft out of the total fleet of 100.

"The company has made significant investment in research and development to mature critical technologies applicable to the B-21 platform."

The APUC from the independent estimate supporting the award is $511m per aircraft, again in 2010 dollars.

The company said in a statement published on its website: "The company has made significant investment in research and development to mature critical technologies applicable to the B-21 platform.

"Combining this investment with our fielded fifth generation experience with F119 and F135 engines, Pratt & Whitney is technology-ready for the B-21 development programme.

"We are prepared to work with Northrop Grumman to develop and field a B-21 weapon system that fulfils Air Force mission requirements."


Image: The first rendition of B-21 Bomber. Photo: US Air Force.