Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., based in Palmdale, California, has sealed a $7bn contract to modernise and sustain the B-2 bomber fleet. 

The deal encompasses various enhancements and logistics support critical for maintaining the Air Force fleet.

On Monday, 22 January 2024, the US Department of Defense announced the start of low-scale production on the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider stealth bomber. The B-21 is set to replace the B-1 Lancer and the B-2 Spirit, becoming the primary stealth bomber in the US fleet.

According to GlobalData’s “The Global Military Fixed Wing Aircraft Market 2023-2033” report,  Northrop Grumman Corp is expected to be the second leading supplier of military fixed-wing aircraft in North America. The B-21 Raider combat aircraft from Northrop Grumman is expected to cost the United States $63.9bn for 100 units.

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. has been entrusted with modernising and sustaining the B-2 bomber fleet. The contract is indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, with a ceiling value of $7bn.

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, B-2 Division Contracting, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, has awarded the contract. The scope of work encompasses a suite of enhancements, sustainment efforts, and logistical support crucial for ensuring the continued operational effectiveness of the B-2 fleet.

Key elements of the contract include sustaining engineering, software maintenance, support equipment provision, and programmed depot maintenance of the entire B-2 fleet. 

The contract reaffirms the company’s status as a sole source provider. With work slated to be performed primarily at Palmdale, California, supplemented by activities at various Air Force bases across the country, including Whiteman AFB, Missouri, and Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, the contract is expected to run until 3 May 2029.

The US remains one of a handful of countries with a large fleet of strategic bombing forces. Of these aircraft, the B-2 Spirit stands out as a unique stealth aircraft, as per GlobalData’s intelligence on the US defence market

Northrop Grumman has reported a 12% increase in net earnings to $944m in the first quarter of fiscal year 2024 (FY24), attributed to a 13% rise in operating income. The company’s net sales for the quarter rose 9% to $10.1bn, driven by solid demand across all sectors, with aeronautics systems leading at an 18% growth.