The American taxpayer has been given another expense by the Pentagon this week to the tune of $100 billion over at least two decades.
A contract has been awarded to mega defense contractor Northrop Grumman to construct 100 of the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRSB) which is claimed to be a necessary upgrade to its 1950s-era B-52.
The military cites new electronic threats and systems detection that developers will be looking to counter. The increasing use of drones and new cloaking tech is expected to make it more difficult to detect or to hide within the electromagnetic spectrum.
Naturally, specific plans for the LRSB are classified, but a few details were released by the Air Force:
The bomber will be “dual-capable,” meaning it can carry both conventional and nuclear weapons.
“We’re designing the platform to be adaptable,” the Air Force’s chief of staff General Mark Welsh said.
“This open architecture will help ensure competition throughout the life cycle of the program, and make it easier to modify the platform as technology advances and the threats evolve,” he added. (Source)
The “open architecture” means that the planes will be upgradable which is believed to actually reduce cost over time. It’s a superficially nice thought, but the U.S. military has repeatedly been criticized for its apparent lack of concern for the tab they run up on the American people.
Most infamously, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is a boondoggle that has already reached an astounding $400 billion; the pilot helmets alone cost $400,000 each. The F-35 is now the costliest Pentagon program in history …. and it is still years away from being functional. (For those who wish to be fully nauseated by military waste, see these 5 other weapons programs that collectively have cost more than $7 billion and have been relegated to the scrap heap.) Most recently, a $5 billion computer intelligence system was claimed to have been non-functional, leading to the bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan. Sadly, the list could go on.
But perhaps most disturbing of all is the admission that multiple decades more of America’s future investment will be in war; not only conventional, but nuclear – and capable of striking anywhere on the planet.
Image Credit: Anthony Freda Art