WASHINGTON, July 14 (UPI) -- A Request for Proposal has been issued to Industry by the U.S. Air Force for its Long Range Strike Bomber, or LRS-B.
The request sets out a future contract's requirements and precedes competitive selection based on contractor proposals.
"The LRS-B will be an adaptable and highly-capable system based upon mature technology," said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. "We have established an achievable and stable set of requirements that should make this capability a hallmark for the future.
"We've set a realistic target cost for the system and have a procurement strategy which allows us to affordably field a new bomber fleet. The program's strategy will ensure we get the best possible deal for the taxpayer."
The new bomber the Air Force is seeking will be air-refuelable and capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional stand-off and direct-attack weapons. The Air Force considers it a top modernization priority.
"The long range strike bomber will be essential to our ability to win a full-spectrum conflict in the future," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh. "It is a must-have capability."
A contract for development of the bomber is expected to be issued in the spring of next year.
The Air Force plans to purchase 80-100 of the new bombers, which would become operational in the 2020s.