The US Air Force will prefer buying next-generation aircraft, such as Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter and a new long-range bomber to strengthen its electronic warfare capability, USAF official has said.
Reuters reported, citing Air Combat Command Commander General Herbert Carlisle, that the F-35 combat aircraft offers better electronic warfare capabilities.
He said F-35 has better electronic warfare capability including system for jamming enemy signals to facilitate bombing targets on the ground.
Carlisle has also added that the air force is expected to select the winner of the multi-billion dollar contract to build a new long-range strike bomber (LRS-B) in July or possibly August this year.
The contract is predicted to be worth $50 to $80bn. Competitors for the project include Northrop Grumman and a team of Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
Carlisle was quoted by the news agency as saying: "With the limited (budget), you’ve got to think harder about buying brand new legacy airplanes versus the next generation as we go forward."
Carlisle’s remark comes as Boeing is putting efforts to receive enough orders to keep its F/A-18E/F and EA-18G fighter production.
Meanwhile, the navy officials declared that the force has enough Boeing EA-18G Growlers to meet their own requirements.
Northrop Grumman manufactures the B-2 bomber, while Boeing and Lockheed are currently developing the KC-46A tanker and F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF) aircraft for the USAF under separate programmes.
Under agreement between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, the former will act as the prime contractor for the project, while latter will serve as the primary teammate.
The USAF issued a request for proposal for this LRS-B programme in July 2014.
Image: A Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning II. Photo: courtesy of Andy Wolfe.