Boeing will receive a contract worth up to $250 million to study how to make the Long-Range Standoff Weapon safe to fly on the B-52 bomber.
Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center spokeswoman Leah Bryant said May 18 the contract, slated to begin Jan. 1, 2019, will ensure the next-generation nuclear cruise missile's airworthiness. Boeing will look into modified aircraft hardware, computer systems and software, crew systems, cybersecurity and flight technology, among other issues.
According to an April 10 notice, the Air Force expects the contract will last five to six years. Bryant did not offer specifics on how the B-52 or LRSO might have to be modified to work together.
Boeing's studies will last into the engineering and manufacturing development phase, slated to begin in early 2022. Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are now refining their LRSO designs under the technology-maturation and risk-reduction phase. The new missile will fly on the B-52 and Northrop Grumman's developing B-21, while the Air Force plans to retire the B-2 in the early 2030s.