Leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees announced $5 billion in cuts to the Fiscal 2016 defense policy bill Tuesday, including $230 million from the Long-Range Strike Bomber program. The reductions, which impact more than 100 separate programs across the Defense Department, bring the defense authorization bill in line with the two-year budget deal signed by President Obama on Monday. The bomber reductions are due to the months-long delay of the LRS-B contract, according to a breakdown of the reductions posted on the HASC website. Northrop Grumman won the multi-billion dollar bomber contract, originally expected in the spring, on Oct. 27. A committee aide told Politico the reductions to the LRS-B program do not represent a lack of support from Capitol Hill.
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force recently, as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S., as the bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.