A top secret desert assembly plant starts ramping up to build Northrop’s B-21 bomber

Artist rendering of Air Force’s new B-21 bomber.

Artist rendering of Air Force’s new B-21 bomber. (Northrop Gruman)

 

A once-empty parking lot at Northrop Grumman Corp.’s top secret aircraft plant in Palmdale is now jammed with cars that pour in during the predawn hours.

More than a thousand new employees are working for the time being in rows of temporary trailers, a dozen tan-colored tents and a vast assembly hangar at the desert site near the edge of urban Los Angeles County.

It is here that Northrop is building the Air Force’s new B-21 bomber, a stealthy bat-winged jet that is being designed to slip behind any adversary’s air defense system and deliver devastating airstrikes for decades to come. The Pentagon is aiming to buy 100 of the bombers by the mid-2030s for at least $80 billion, though the exact amount is classified.

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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

Obama’s cybersecurity adviser: Biometrics will replace passwords for safety’s sake

The days of using a password to access a bank account or cellphone will soon be a thing of the past, President Obama’s top cybersecurity adviser said Thursday.

The risk of getting hacked by criminals has grown so widespread that far more sophisticated identification technology — including biometric scanning devices — will become the norm, said Michael Daniel, the White House’s cybersecurity coordinator.

“You’ve started to see some of that with the emergence of the fingerprint readers,” said Mr. Daniel, adding that the technology will become increasingly mainstream as cellphone cameras, “hard” card readers and other authentication gadgets replace the annoying process for millions of Americans of punching in a password to confirm their identity.

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Exclusive: Chinese raw materials also found on U.S. B-1 bomber, F-16 jets

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – After discovering China-made components in the F-35 fighter jet, a Pentagon investigation has uncovered Chinese materials in other major U.S. weaponry, including Boeing Co’s B-1B bomber and certain Lockheed Martin Corp F-16 fighters, the U.S. Defense Department said.

Titanium mined in China may also have been used to build part of a new Standard Missile-3 IIA being developed jointly by Raytheon Co and Japan, said a senior U.S. defense official, who said the incidents raised fresh concerns about lax controls by U.S. contractors.

U.S. law bans weapons makers from using raw materials from China and a number of other countries, amid concerns that reliance on foreign suppliers could leave the U.S. military vulnerable in some future conflict. Continue reading