U.S. Defense Secretary Richard Cheney has gotten his first look at the B-2 stealth bomber on a recent visit to Northrop Corp.'s facilities.
Cheney, who has delayed full-scale production of the bomber for a year, visited the Northrop plants where the B-2 is being built in Palmdale and Pico Rivera.
Northrop spokesman Greg Wasqul said Cheney’s visit was part of the defense secretary’s first trip to California since he was named to the post earlier this year. Deputy Defense Secretary Donald Atwood also visited the plants.
The B-2, which is designed to elude enemy radar, costs $500 million per plane, making it the most expensive aircraft ever built.
Cheney told a congressional committee last month that the Defense Department was having “problems” with the B-2 because of its high costs.
Cheney said he instituted the production delay because of technical problems and budgetary constraints.
Northrop began developing the B-2 in 1981. It was originally scheduled to fly in 1987 and is now scheduled for its first flight this summer.