Northrop Grumman Corp.‘s contract to build the nation’s next-generation stealth bomber is expected to bring thousands of jobs to Southern California and possibly the San Diego area.
Under the potentially $80 billion contract awarded Tuesday, Northrop would build 100 radar-evading long-range bombers to replace the 30-year-old B-1 and the Eisenhower-era B-52.
“This announcement means thousands of jobs will be coming to California, and that’s great news,” said Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins of San Diego. “When the legislature created the tax credits to help Northrop Grumman and the team of Lockheed Martin and Boeing compete for the Department of Defense’s long-range bomber project, this is exactly the outcome we wanted to see.”
The tax breaks of nearly $500 million for whichever company won the contract were designed to encourage them to build the planes in Palmdale north of Los Angeles.
“This is a huge win for the Antelope Valley and California’s aerospace industry,” said Assemblyman Tom Lackey of Palmdale. “Hundreds of new jobs will be created which will provide a badly needed injection into our local economy.”
Northrop Grumman also has extensive operations in San Diego, where it designs remotely piloted aircraft. The technologies developed here could be part of the bomber project.
The new Long-Range Strike Bomber will be one of the Pentagon’s biggest weapons systems of the next decade, and is slated to enter service in the mid 2020s.
The bomers will “extend our ability to reach any target around the world,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said, calling the aircraft the “backbone” of the military’s new air program.
Wes Bush, chairman and chief executive of Virginia-based Northrop Grumman, said his company is ready to start work on the bombers.
“The Air Force has made the right decision for our nation’s security,” Bush said. “As the company that developed and delivered the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, we look forward to providing the Air Force with a highly capable and affordable next-generation Long-Range Strike Bomber. Our team has the resources in place to execute this important program, and we’re ready to get to work.”
City News Service contributed to this article.