Northrop Grumman hopes to win first contract for next-generation B-21 Raider nuclear bomber by the end of the year

Northrop Grumman hopes to receive the first contract from the Air Force during the current year for

production of B-21 Raider strategic bombers. The aircraft was announced in December 2022, but has never yet flown.

What is known

B-21 Raider will make its first flight at the end of 2023of the year. In the same period, Northrop Grumman wants to sign the first manufacturing contract with the Air Force. The agreement will be concluded for the first (out of five) small batch of aircraft. This was announced by CFO Dave Keffer during a conversation with analysts in January. Low-volume production will continue until the end of the current decade.

However, Northrop Grumman and the US Air Force fearmacroeconomic risks, including inflation, unemployment and supply chain problems. The company and service are looking for ways to reduce the cost of the B-21 Raider program.

Historically high inflation, chain failuressupply and labor issues have led to an increase in the cost estimate for a new generation of strategic aircraft at the current stage of production. At the same time, the US authorities still support the purchase of at least 100 B-21 Raider bombers. Northrop Grumman itself does not exclude that it will receive a loss of up to $ 1.2 billion on one or several lots. Losses will be divided into all five lots, which will mitigate the negative impact on the company.