The Top Secret Pentagon Project That Had Its Own Super Bowl Commercial

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A secret U.S. bomber is set to exit the black budget’s shadows and enter the public eye

The U.S. Air Force’s newest bomber is poised to emerge from the shadows of the Pentagon’s so-called black budget.

As soon as this month, the government will pick Northrop Grumman Corp. or a Lockheed Martin Corp.-Boeing Co. team to lead the Long-Range Strike Bomber program. It’s a decision that will expose the multibillion-dollar program to Washington adversaries long before the jet sees combat in the 2020s or beyond. Continue reading

Get Ready, America: Russia Wants a New Stealthy, Long-Range Bomber

There is little concrete information about the new Russian bomber—but a stealthy long-range penetrating strike aircraft is not cheap. The Pentagon’s secretive new Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) program is aiming to develop an aircraft that will cost roughly $550 million per jet. Developmental costs for the American aircraft—which will supposedly rely on “mature” technologies–are likely to be in $50 billion range. While the Russia PAK-DA is not likely to be nearly as expensive, it is going to cost tens of billions of dollars at a time when Russia’s resource-based economy is collapsing into what could be a prolonged recession. Unlike the Soviet Union—which had a more or less full-service, if dysfunctional, economy—modern Russia is little more than a glorified petro-state. There are very real questions as to whether Russia can afford to complete the development of the PAK-DA.

Nonetheless, Russia’s Tupolev design bureau appears to be moving full steam ahead with the development of the new aircraft. Mikhail Pogosyan, head of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC)—a state enterprise that includes Tupolev—told RIA Novosti, a state-run Russian new agency (now known internationally as Sputnik International), earlier in the year that development of the PAK-DA had started in earnest in 2014. Pogosyan said that preliminary design work for the new aircraft was completed in April 2014 and some components are already being fabricated. Continue reading