WASHINGTON — The US Air Force has moved rapidly to parade drawings of its latest economy-swallowing clusterfuck before Congressional committees to secure production funding. The new images of the B-21 bomber were unveiled at a Capitol Hill press conference given by Air Force Secretary Deborah James before her testimony in front of the House Select Committee on Unkillable Programs.
“Just look at it,” James said. “Doesn’t it get you going too?” she asked in a tone a congressional described as “nearly breathless.” An aide had to escort the secretary back to her seat.
At Northrop Grumman headquarters in Falls Church, Va., an anonymous project engineer was “flabbergasted” by the testimony. He requested anonymity on the grounds that he was not authorized to gloat on the record.
“I can’t believe they bought it!” he said. “We spent all of three hours on the design, and [the Air Force] has committed to $200 billion in engineering costs alone. Am I awake?” Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC), the contractor selected to build the taxpayer nightmare, saw its shares rise 43% on Friday.
With a reported cost pushing $550 million per unit, the B-21 is not expected to enter testing until 2025, which is still before the F-35 is scheduled to be operational. It is never expected to enter combat.
“You’re joking,” James said when asked about combat. “There’s no way you could risk this thing in the field. Have you seen the price tag?”
“We’re building on the success of the Joint Strike Fighter program,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Mark Welsh. “The American people asked for more firepower. This aircraft delivers. It’s bigger, bolder, and blacker than the B-2, and with an impressive 500 pound payload, it can flatten an entire Taliban playground. And of course, it’s more versatile than the A-10.”
“And, it will be built in all 50 states, American Samoa, and by prison labor at Guantanamo Bay,” he added.
The briefing concluded with each executive in attendance tossing a stack of $100 bills onto a ceremonial bonfire, signalling the beginning of another decades-long orgy for aviation contractors. The program’s 30-year cost is projected to be $6.9 trillion — more than the cost of every war ever fought, combined.
Although some remain skeptical of the aircraft’s potential, it is accepted that the program will have a net positive impact. “They did say that the project leadership will be outsourced to local vocational schools, so that’s a step forward,” remarked a congressional staffer. “But what the fuck are they thinking with another stealth triangle?”
Check out After Action with Max & Paul, an awesome new podcast featuring the creators of Terminal Lance and Duffel Blog.