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Under-Wraps B-21 Bomber Is Seen Costing $203 Billion Into 2050s

  • Thirty-year operations estimate for 100 jets now $114 billion
  • New Air Force disclosure may lessen any ‘sticker shock”
B-21 stealth bomber
B-21 stealth bomberSource: Northrop Grumman

The U.S. Air Force’s next-generation B-21 stealth bomber program will likely cost taxpayers at least $203 billion to develop, purchase and operate 100 aircraft over 30 years, according to new service estimates.

The figure represents the most complete estimate to date for the heavily classified program won by Northrop Grumman Corp. in 2015. It’s also an attempt by the Air Force to make good on a vow to help prevent sticker shock among lawmakers by providing more transparency on cost data as the secretive aircraft proceeds through development.