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Northrop Grumman will see a surge of as much as $59 billion in research and procurement spending over six years for its two top defense programs — a new bomber and an intercontinental ballistic missile — if the U.S. Air Force’s new spending plan is realized.
Bomber production dollars going to Northrop and its subcontractors — including Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids’s largest employer, and the Pratt and Whitney units of Raytheon Technologies as well as BAE Systems, which is constructing a facility in Cedar Rapids — are projected to surge from $108 million this year, according to the unpublished projections, to:
- $1.8 billion in fiscal 2023
- $3.5 billion in fiscal 2024
- $4.4 billion in fiscal 2025
- $4.6 billion in fiscal 2026
- $5 billion in fiscal 2027.
Bomber research funding would total $10 billion through 2027.
Northrop is one of the biggest winners in President Joe Biden’s proposed $773 billion defense budget for fiscal 2023 that was sent to Congress on Monday and also in the Air Force’s five-year projection of spending for the years that follow, which was provided to Bloomberg News.
The Air Force estimates it will commit as much as $29 billion through fiscal 2027 for continued research, development and procurement for the stealthy B-21 Raider bomber, according to the spending road map.
Northrop, which depended on the U.S. government for 85 percent of its revenue last year, beat out a joint bid from the top two U.S. defense contractors — Lockheed Martin and Boeing — to win a competition for the bomber in 2015.
Six of the planned initial 100 bombers have been produced, according to the service, and the first flight may occur this year.
The Air Force proposal, as with the Biden administration’s fiscal year 2023 budget, still is subject to congressional approval each year.
Under the service’s plan, it will spend at least $29.5 billion through 2029 on research and procurement for the new ICBM, known as the Ground Based-Strategic Deterrent, that’s also to be built by Falls Church, Va.-based Northrop.
Boeing dropped its competing bid for the missile in 2019, saying the bid structure left it at a competitive disadvantage. The aging Minuteman III missile gradually will be phased out as the new ICBM replaces it.
The B-21 stealth bomber is likely to cost taxpayers at least $203 billion to develop, purchase and operate 100 aircraft over 30 years, according to figures provided to Bloomberg News.
The total cost, priced in fiscal year 2019 dollars, includes $25.1 billion for development, $64 billion for production, and $114 billion for 30 years of sustaining and operating a fleet of 100 bombers.