Christian Davenport writes: The closest it’s come to a public debut was a prime-time tease during a Super Bowl ad that showed its svelte outline veiled beneath a sheet, but revealed not a glimpse of the Pentagon’s most mysterious plane.
Highly classified, the program is one of the Air Force’s top priorities — and its most expensive. The service estimates it will cost $55 billion to build as many as 100 of what it calls the Long Range Strike Bomber, which is designed to fly deep into enemy territory undetected until the mushroom cloud begins to bloom.
In the coming months, the Air Force is expected to award a contract for the next-generation bomber, which would begin flying in the mid-2020s, have the potential to fly manned or unmanned and give the military the ability to hit any target “at any point on the globe.”
But that’s about all the Air Force will say about the program, which has been cloaked in a veil of secrecy rivaling the jet’s stealthy ability to creep past enemy lines. [Continue reading…]