During this phase, manufacturing processes of the Long Range Standoff (LRSO) weapons system will continue to mature and the manufacturing environment will be demonstrated and transitioned to a pilot line readiness state.
Bloomberg has reported USAF plans to purchase up to 1,000 of the new LRSOs.
The objective at the end of this next phase is to demonstrate full production readiness. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, and is expected to be completed February 2027.
Raytheon and Lockheed Martin were developing competing designs for the cruise missile during an earlier technology maturation and risk reduction phase. The Air Force last year decided to proceed with Raytheon after an extensive evaluation of contractor programmatic and technical approach.
The new system, which will be deployed in about 2030, will be carried on the B-52 bomber as well as the service's new B-21 Raider.
The B-21 programme is on schedule and on budget, it was recently revealed by congressman Adam Smith after a briefing on the defence programme.
USAF wants to acquire at least 145 B-21 Raiders from Northrop Grumman, estimated to cost in excess of $90 billion.
President Joe Biden’s nominee to be the next secretary of the air force, Frank Kendall, says that “is a reasonable number, at this point.”