CLEARFIELD — Though the specifics are scarce, some of the work related to building the Air Force’s controversial and mysterious bomber of the future will take place in Clearfield.
The Air Force recently announced seven subcontractors that will team up with Northrop Grumman to build the Air Force’s B-21, also known as the Long Range Strike Bomber.
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James named BAE Systems, GKN Aerospace, Janicki Industries, Pratt and Whitney, Rockwell Collins, Spirit Aerosystems and Orbital ATK as the subcontractors during in a press conference March 7 at the Pentagon. The Air Force posted a video of the conference on its website, www.af.mil.
ATK spokeswoman Hillary Searle confirmed the aerospace and defense company’s Component Refurbishment Center, located in Clearfield’s Freeport Center, will perform work on the bomber.
In the press conference, James said the names of the subcontractors were released in the “spirit of transparency,” but added that the B-21 program remains “highly classified,” and as such, no further information would be released about contract values or incentives. James did say that, other than engine maker Pratt and Whitney, the subcontractors’ work would involve the bomber’s air frame and ignition systems.
The secretary also said the companies were required to establish cybersecurity plans to protect the highly sensitive data they will be working with.
In a statement, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R- Utah, said the Air Force’s decision to name ATK as a partner in the program will bring jobs to Utah and help strengthen national security.
Northrop Grumman was awarded the B-21 contract in October, estimated at $80 billion. A month after the contract was awarded, Boeing and Lockheed Martin formally protested the award with the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The protest was denied by the GAO in late February, allowing work on the program to continue.
According to a press release from Air Force’s Public Affairs, there are no existing prototypes of the bomber, but the aircraft will be able to launch airstrikes anywhere in the world from the continental United States.
The aircraft is expected to enter the force by the mid-2020s.