Slowly Revealing the LRS-B

The Air Force is working on a “classification guide” regarding what information can be released about the Long-Range Strike Bomber, and when, according to USAF acquisition chief William LaPlante. “We’ve just started that review,” LaPlante said in an Oct. 30 telephone interview, but he hopes to release some additional information on the secret bomber program “around the time we have to send the SAR [Selected Acquisition Reports] to Congress;” roughly when the Fiscal 2017 President’s Budget is sent to Capitol Hill. “My intent,” he added, was to release “in public form some of what we said to Congress” just before Northrop Grumman was announced as the winner of the program last week. The announcement included no details about the bomber’s design, nor did it disclose any information about Northrop Grumman’s industrial team. The SAR itself, which gives overall costs on the program, may be classified, he noted. Once completed, the classification guide will be “frequently updated,” LaPlante also asserted. On previous classified projects, such as the F-117 stealth attack jet, heavy secrecy was estimated to add a premium of 10 percent on program cost. LaPlante said the number of test articles in the program—which he had previously said would be a releasable figure—is still considered too sensitive to discuss. During a meeting with reporters on Oct. 21, he said the LRS-B test fleet would be comparable to that of the KC-46 program, which will have four test airplanes.