Despite some official dithering about when the Air Force will announce the winner of the Long-Range Strike Bomber contract, Air Combat Command chief Gen. Hawk Carlisle predicts “it’s going to be sometime in July, maybe August.” Speaking with reporters after his AFA-sponsored talk in Arlington, Va., on Monday, Carlisle said there would be “a little more” information about the bomber, and its “family of systems,” revealed “as that decision is made.” He said LRS-B “is going to be part of” the Pentagon’s overall electronic warfare strategy, especially “penetrating capability, and what that looks like.” Although the Navy has suggested it may need more EA-18G Growler stand-in jamming aircraft, Carlisle said “with a limited [budgetary total obligation authority], you’ve got to think hard about buying brand-new legacy airplanes versus next generation [ones] as we go forward.” More information about the LRS-B and its mission set will probably be disclosed gradually, “over time,” he said. Northrop Grumman and a Boeing-led team including Lockheed Martin have made bomber proposals.
The Air Force will begin its 71st annual Operation Christmas Drop on Dec. 4. The weeklong exercise is a yearly tradition that delivers supplies such as food, fishing equipment, school books, and clothes to remote islands in the Pacific. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian mission.