Pratt & Whitney named as engine maker for USAF's B-21 bomber


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

USAF Secretary Deborah Lee James was quoted by DefenseNews as saying: "The B-2 remained in the shadows for too long, it remained classified, too many details remained classified too long.

"In the case of the B-21, we are leaning forward and we are trying to be more transparent and we are going to continue to do so."

Work under the contract is expected to be performed at the company's facility in East Hartford, Connecticut, US.

Additionally, James has named six other industry partners for the project, which includes BAE Systems, GKN Aerospace, Janicki Industries, Orbital ATK, Rockwell Collins and Spirit AeroSystems, reported Reuters.

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.

Currently in its engineering and manufacturing development phase (EMD), the programme is aimed 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 APUC from the independent estimate supporting the award is $511m per aircraft, again in 2010 dollars.

Last month, the USAF revealed the first rendering of the B-21, at the Air Force Association's Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, US.

However, the first rendering of the aircraft did not include the prototypes of the aircraft.

The USAF plans to field the initial capability of the aircraft in mid-2020s.