Friday, December 08, 2006
Last year, the air force flirted with a proposal for a manned regional bomber based on Lockheed Martin’s FB-22 concept, but this has been discarded. A recent Lockheed press release included this artist's impression of LM's most recent supersonic LRS concept study.
At first glance I thought it was a Northrop Grumman FB-23 concept, but no - it's a Lockheed LRS UCAV concept.
The US Air Force has set aside $2 billion over the next several years to launch the accelerated development of a next-generation bomber that is almost certain to be unmanned and unlike anything on the ramp today.
Air force officials are confident full-scale development of an unmanned vehicle can start from 2008-10. The plan is to accelerate air vehicle technologies under development for the Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems programme, but the Boeing X-45C and Northrop Grumman X-47B designs are considered inadequate for the new bomber requirement.