Northrop Runs Super Bowl Ad for Next Generation Bomber Program

Northrop-SuperBowl-600x400Northrop Grumman will place America’s attention on the race to build the next generation bomber in a commercial the defense giant plans to run during the Super Bowl. Below is a sneak peak.

The Air Force wants to build a next generation bomber to replace the B-52 and B-1, and eventually the B-2. Northrop Grumman built the B-2 and highlights it in the commercial before offering a glimpse of the next generation bomber’s outline underneath a sheet.

Northrop Grumman is competing against a partnership of Boeing and Lockheed Martin for the rights to build the bomber that the Air Force expects to cost $550 million apiece. Air Force officials hope to introduce the Long Range Strike Bomber to the fleet in the 2020s and build 80-100 of the bombers. 

Here’s a link to the video if it doesn’t immediately load.

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Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to He can be reached at
  • Sev

    “Building aircraft the likes of which the world has never seen….and probably never will see.”
    ANd no I’m not saying that because it won’t be built due to budget issues, I’m saying that because it will be so stealthy nobody will ever see it. You just get bombed and no one’s the wiser.

    • pennyrobinsonfans

      Well played!

    • john

      Actually, there’s an article about that floating somewhere – possibly on – that you should check out. They’re saying that stealth is in it’s twilight years. There is, as I myself also failed to realize (despite the relative simplicity of the dilemma), apparently no way to completely mask engine exhaust and aerodynamic turbulence. Surprisingly, but I suppose rather logically, it’s expected that these flaws will eventually mean that future detection systems will be impossible to evade. Don’t get me wrong, though. I’ll miss those sci-fi-esque designs. Hopefully what comes afterwards will look just as advanced, and pride-worthy for honest men, and just as fearsome and demoralizing to evildoers.

  • Torpedo8

    Hopefully we don’t end up with two of them, but that’s the trend.

  • Derek

    I watched the video, and it reminded me of last weekend at the strip club.


  • 009

    Soo Excited for this new bomber, Russia and China will be once again behind the Eight Ball scrambling to duplicate and hack this Beast!

    • CCJ

      Actually comrade, when you take the sheet off, we’ve already written ‘Chinese Cyberspies Were Here :-)’ in marker pen.

      • FalseHope

        LOL. No doubt Chinese spies/hackers/engineers working at NOC already have it.

  • Lance

    Author is mistaken the new bomber is to replace the B-2 first then the B-1 then B-52.

    Overall same wishful thinking. We will not know who if any new plane will ever see day of light in todays military.

  • Condor1970

    If you look carefully, it has the front leading edge profile of an X-47B UCAS. Basically, it’s a giant X-47B with a cockpit. I like it.

    Didn’t some UFO nuts in Texas film this thing already in a high altitude test flight?

    • Justin

      Would you really be prone to call them “UFO nuts” when they’ve accomplished getting photographic evidence of something?

  • Brian B. Mulholland

    It’s not clear as to what they filmed – the three airframes at high altitude, triangular in shape? And whose prototypes were filmed is another question.

    Given the problems with the F-35, I wish it were possible to exclude LM from any project that involves the creation of large amounts of code until further notice. I’m skeptical that they have the manpower to do it; software issues are the biggest single piece of the F-35’s problems. A pity that they, in tandem with Boeing, probably have so much K Street firepower as to dominate the competition.

  • OMG

    His hopes were so high he was doomed to disappointment.

  • B4its2late

    No doubt another program that will on-time and on-budget. Do us all a favor a give Northrup that contract. LM already mismanaged two jets.

    Still, it won’t be able to defeat S400 and S500 SAM on their own.

    • William_C1

      Northrop who did the B-2 program that gets so much flak for being so expensive? Or the same Northrop which is prime subcontractor for the F-35?

  • Christopher

    Northrop Grumman is pretty much in the tank for getting the LRSB contract. Unless the USAF screws up again.
    They have the skills, the experience and unlike Lockheed can deliver on their promises. Having built the most successful Stealth Aircraft helps.
    Before F-22 fanboys get pissy. The Raptor has only been deployed into combat no less than a few months ago.

  • Rthompson

    Maybe this one will be the one….to rule them all?

  • Stan

    Considering the proportion of their income coming from their work for the government, they are pretty much using our tax dollars to advertise to us. Why?

    • oblatt22

      Because when you are redistributing the bread you need to make sure that people are at the circuses.

      Since the people who are interested in military equipment are largely on the military payroll, they need to be made comfortable with the idea that their lifestyle is
      going to take a hit to pay for these programs.

      • Dfens

        It’s funny that they can use $35 million to sell us on a program that we don’t need, but they can’t spend one thin dime of their own money designing a prototype airplane for a fly off.

    • wpnexp

      They can but they have to take it out of profits essentially, so they can be assured to be getting the best bang for the buck. Patriotic ad during the Super Bowl is always a good idea.

  • oblatt22

    The F-22 and F-35 were all designed in an era where we thought that there would be no air warfare competition. Just as long as you could evade old style radars that was enough. That is why they have such poor performance.

    But having gotten used to the better economics of that era our contractors are simply unable to take the financial hit it would take to become competitive again. The new paradigm is delivering less for more and its here to stay.

    We can be sure that the new bomber will be a expensive poorly designed, poorly manufactured disappointment militarily but a great financial success. Its the new American way of war.

    • William_C1

      The F-22 was designed to sweep the skies of all competition, that’s why its “poor” performance allows for supercruise and an extreme degree of maneuverability. Even if it didn’t have the very low radar cross section it would be extremely hard to defeat.

      F-35 was a strike fighter which from a performance standpoint is a lot closer to the F/A-18, but its primary role is to blow up stuff on the ground.

      Read a goddamn book.

  • Franklin

    Half a billion dollars is a joke unless it’s hypersonic with a respectable payload. Lockheed’s SR72 points the way, and Skylon is moving off the drawing boards. Actually a defence penetrating bomber is obsolete when a cheap heavy lift aircraft can launch whatever you want at a safe distance. We need bang for the buck not another Billion dollar B2. What really freaks me out is supersonic submarines. I guess environmentally friendly isn’t worth much more than a chuckle.

    • Dr Horrible


  • anthony

    We have to stay in time.Was a nice landing!

  • Stanley

    The Air Force plans to build 80 to 100 of them, but it’s probably gonna be more like 12.

  • Highguard

    Franklin, Oblatt22 and Craigpv2d all hit the nail on the head. NGC built the B-2 in the height of its hey day. They are a smaller company than both LMCO and BA. Although dynamite sometimes comes in small packages, I doubt it here. Just look at what you are seeing and think about proportionality in terms of loadout. A light bomber for $600M per copy. No wonder the previous CSAF wanted to keep everyone lip-tight about the new LRS-B. From the looks of it, this A/C will be able to carry a max of 2 x JASSM or 2 x LRASM, after you factor in the addition of maybe 2 x AMRAAMs and 2 x AIM-9X for self-defense. Franklin is so spot-on when you point out a simple fact: ACC keeps trying to create wonder machines for pilots instead of thinking out power projection in terms of loadout of weapons. JSF has the same problem.

  • Highguard

    Assuming LMCO has learned from the software debacles and hired sufficient programmers, they and BA would be VERY WISE to offer a $150M alterenative 5th Gen (6th Gen would be hypersonic which we’re not ready for yet) workhorse in the form of a Fighter-Bomber (similar but slightly larger and superior to the J-20) that can actually carry the current inventory of munitions (to include at least one MOP which is the most capable HDBT weapon we’ll have for the next decade). For $150M each, we could have 200 x FB-Xs for the High-end Conv scenarios and you would still have enough ACQ funds to give NGC a sole-source contract to build 50 x LRS-Bs for the AFGSC strategic triad mission.

  • Highguard

    That’s threat-informed force structure planning but it will not happen for 5 reasons: Life Cycle/Infrastructure costs for two A/C types vs one are too high; USAF is downsizing manpower at a time they should be growing it; AF needs another Curtis Lemay but won’t get it because leaders who would kick Congress in the teeth are not selected; Services have settled on being pre-occupied with countering Islamic Extremism instead finally realizing that mission should be given without restrictions to SOCOM and the CIA; and Congress is h – – – bent (either intentionally via greed or by ignorance) on ensuring the US gets kicked out of Asia and Europe so China and Russia can dominate geoeconomically.

  • Julz

    something from decades ago that has been watered down enough to go into production :p

  • 45k20

    I’d rather see Northrop get this contract than Lockheed. In fact, Lockheed needs to be barred from future contracts until they can pull their head out and get the F-35 on track and on budget.

    • Dfens

      Now that’s a good idea. That would hit Lockheed where it hurts.

  • geroge

    Why not use the designs from the A-12 that was being built in the 90′ s,cheaper with the same functions?

  • GI dude

    For the money, we could build 3000 +/- new A-10’s that could go tear a–ing around any “bad guys” country!

  • JEFF

    Everybody is saying Northrop should win but wasn’t the B-2 around $2.1 billion per plane? Seems like another rip off to me.

    • Dfens

      I remember it being $1 billion in late ’80s dollars. Is that $2.1 billion today? I guess I could use one of those inflation calculators and figure it out for myself.

  • Joe_Sovereign

    This plane is the mass production of prototypes that have been flying for a decade in the Black world. It is going to look like a standard stealth design. The high tech is the IR stealth, visual stealth, and audio stealth. It will most likely be able to fly super sonic on it’s way to a target but slow down to sub-sonic to maximize it’s stealth capabilities.

  • citanon

    Is it just me or did this ad not actually run during the Super Bowl?

  • OriginalK

    Note to NG: in the 80s and early 90s, defense engineers were paid high wages and given excellent perks – subsequently you had some of the best and brightest designing and developing your systems. Since the mid 90s, defense engineer salaries and perks have been decreasing on an almost yearly basis. Now the best and brightest are working at Apple, Microsoft, Silicon Valley or Wall st. It will be interesting to see if such a weapon system can be built to specifications the military needs within a 10 year time span by engineers who were second or third tier students, and if such an expensive system will, at that time still be at least 10 years ahead of the competition. Frankly, I wouldn’t bet on it.

    = F-35

    • Dfens

      It doesn’t take “the best and brightest” to drag a program out for 2 decades. In fact, “the best and brightest” typically work at odds with the goals of the defense corporations, that’s why they make sure and squash them every chance they get. But what the hell, we pay these companies more to drag out design and jack up costs, and then we can’t seem to figure out why they do just that.

  • Michael852

    Maybe the bomber could be a drone.

    • Dfens

      So far I think it is being specified to be alternately manned or unmanned, depending on the mission.