LRSB Contract Coming ‘Very, Very Soon': LaPlante

Discussion in 'Defense Industry & Policy' started by F-22, Oct 21, 2015.

Share This Page

  1. F-22

    F-22 2nd Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2015
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    186
    Location:
    United_States
    PENTAGON: The head of Air Force acquisition, Cubs fan Bill Laplante, told reporters today that the very, very eagerly awaited contract for the initial 21 of 100 Long Range Strike Bombers (LRSB) would be issued “very, very soon.”

    “We are really, really close to the award of the bomber,” he said.

    How close, thousands of hungry defense industry workers and their bosses wondered? “We are not going to announce it today, but we are very close,” LaPlante went on to say. A Boeing-Lockheed Martin team is competing against one led by B-2 stealth bomber incumbent Northrop Grumman.

    LaPlante officially confirmed for the first time that:

    • the Air Force plans to buy 100 planes, not 80 to 100 as briefing slides have said for years.
    • the first buy will be 21 planes spread over five options
    • the price of development will be made public, in addition to the well-known APUC cost of $550 million per plane in fiscal 2010 dollars
    • four or five of the first planes will fly as test aircraft, as has happened with the KC-46 tanker

    Some of the subsystems and technologies intended for LRSB are already being used, LaPlante said. It’s likely these were developed by the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO), which oversees LRSB. How good is RCO? “It’s the best, ” LaPlante said. It “has an incredible track record of delivering eye-watering capabilities.”

    He also answered one of the criticisms that LRSB has attracted, namely that building an advanced long-range stealth bomber that relies on existing technologies was something of a contradiction. “Just because it’s existing technology doesn’t mean it’s not incredible,” he said, noting that the only program publicly acknowledged as an RCO effort is the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle.

    Why did LaPlante finally come forth to discuss the program after talking around most questions about it at the Air Force Association conference last month? “Let’s be very clear why we are doing this. It’s because we owe it to you,” he said. Part of that referred to the constant whining from reporters that very little was known about the classified program and we wanted — no, needed — to know more. But a larger part is because American taxpayers will pay an estimated $80 billion or more for this program. And they deserve to know what’s happening with their money.

    http://breakingdefense.com/2015/10/lrsb-contract-coming-very-very-soon-laplante/
     
    Admin and AMDR like this.
  2. F-22

    F-22 2nd Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2015
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    186
    Location:
    United_States
    WASHINGTON — The US Air Force is “really, really close” to announcing which industry team will build its next-generation bomber, according to top service officials.

    "We are not going to announce it today, but we are very close,” Air Force acquisition chief William LaPlante told reporters during a briefing at the Pentagon on Wednesday.

    Industry is still holding its breath for the contract announcement, which could come anytime in the next few weeks. The upcoming award pits three giants in the aerospace world against each other: Northrop Grumman, builder of the B-2 stealth bomber, is competing against a joint Boeing-Lockheed Martin team for the project.

    Although the Air Force has repeatedly postponed the contract award, LaPlante stressed that the program has not been delayed. Leadership is committed to making sure the source selection process is done right, he said.

    “It’s not, oh boy, we have to get this done by Labor Day, oh boy, we have to do this, it’s not that, it’s because of the importance of doing it right,” LaPlante said. “It’s like saying the Cubs game last night had a delay in it — no, it took nine innings and it took this long. It’s an event-based thing, not a time-based thing.”

    Call it what you will, the six-month delay in awarding the contract has already prompted lawmakers to cut $460 million from the program in fiscal 2016. But LaPlante said this cut does not reflect a lack of confidence in the program — rather, the Air Force recommended Congress reduce funding by that amount.

    “There was a mark against LRSB this year, that was a good mark. We gave them that number,” LaPlante said, adding that the team told lawmakers: “Now that we look at it, we’re going to finish a little later. We have this much extra money, we identified it, so it’s good — it goes to the taxpayer.”

    The Air Force plans to buy 80 to 100 Long Range Strike Bombers to replace its aging B-52s and B-1s, which the service plans to retire in the mid-2040s. The target price is $550 million a copy in 2010 dollars. That unit cost is a key performance parameter for the program, meaning that a company can be disqualified if its price fails to reach that goal.

    When the contract is awarded, it will come in two parts — a development contract that is cost-plus incentive fee, and an agreement on the first five low-rate initial production lots that is fixed-price incentive fee. Those first five lots will cover the production of 21 bombers.

    LRSB is unusually mature for a program at this stage in its development, according to Lt. Gen. Arnie Bunch, the Air Force’s deputy assistant secretary for acquisition. The program has completed preliminary design review and manufacturing readiness review, and the platform designs are “at the subsystem level,” he said during the briefing.

    “We have established a high level of tech maturity, higher I would say than any other developmental program that we’ve tried to initiate at this stage for a new aircraft,” Bunch said, emphasizing that one key aspect of the program is that the requirements have remained stable since 2011. “These stable requirements and a mature platform design make us very confident in the cost and the execution of the program as we get ready to initiate.”

    The teams have already built component prototypes and scale models of the designs for testing, officials have previously said. LaPlante indicated during the briefing that the plane could begin flying relatively quickly after selection.

    “People say, when will we actually start flying something?” LaPlante said. “If you count the first test article, it’s not necessarily that long from now – but I’m not going to say anything more about that now.”

    LRSB is unusually advanced in part because it is being handled by the Rapid Capabilities Office, a small group inside Air Force acquisitions which handles secretive programs such as the service's X-37B space plane. Right now, there is no plan to change the management of the program, Bunch said, but the Pentagon may reevaluate as the program moves forward.

    http://www.defensenews.com/story/de...-really-close-bomber-contract-award/74378732/
     
    Admin likes this.
  3. F-22

    F-22 2nd Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2015
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    186
    Location:
    United_States
    The Pentagon’s Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) has managed the Long-Range Strike Bomber since its 2011 inception, and will continue to do so after the contract is awarded, USAF acquisition chief William LaPlante told reporters Wednesday. Giving background on the program before contract award, which LaPlante said will be made soon, he said LRS-B requirements were set after all the services had a chance to participate in the process, so the bomber is a DOD-wide requirement, and not just an Air Force need. The RCO has kept the project “lean and mean” by limiting the program staff to just 80 people, and there are no plans to shift program management to a formal system program office at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, he said. Even so, the RCO has routinely briefed its boss, Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall, as well as LaPlante, the Secretary of the Air Force, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and members of the various defense committees on Capitol Hill, so it has “plenty of oversight.” LaPlante noted that the RCO has reduced risk by re-using technologies “already flying” on other projects, some of which he hinted are classified, but have been built in some numbers.

    http://www.airforcemag.com/DRArchive/Pages/2015/October 2015/October 22 2015/Keep-It-Rapid.aspx

    Using tech from a classified program that has been built in numbers? RQ-180 maybe?
     
    Admin likes this.
  4. Admin

    Admin Captain Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2015
    Messages:
    337
    Likes Received:
    453
    Location:
    United-States
Loading...