Northrop to Work on B-21 in Florida

The director of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities office confirmed Tuesday Northrop Grumman will perform work on the B-21 bomber at its Melbourne, Fla., facility. The final assembly location of the B-21 has not been announced, but while speaking at an AFA Mitchell Institute event in Arlington, Va., Randall Walden said Northrop has the “spin plan ready” and is “hiring folks down at Melbourne.” The company designated its Florida plant its “manned aircraft design center of excellence” three years ago and has suggested it might do a significant amount of B-21 work there. The B-2 bomber was built at the company’s Palmdale, Calif., facility, which has been designated its aircraft integration center of excellence. Walden said the B-21 program is “ramping up” and is “full-blown” into the engineering, manufacturing, and development phase. He said his office believes the service will be able to beat the ceiling cost—or average procurement unit cost—of $550 million per aircraft set in 2010.