FALLS CHURCH, Va., Oct. 27, 2015 . The U.S. Air Force has selected Northrop Grumman Corporation to deliver the nation’s new Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B). This selection continues the company’s 35-year partnership with the Air Force in providing the world’s most advanced long-range strike systems.

“The Air Force has made the right decision for our nation’s security,” said Wes Bush, chairman, chief executive officer and president, Northrop Grumman. “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,” Bush added.

The contract is estimated to be worth more than $20 billion, though that could grow to $80 billion if the Air Force ends up buying the 100 bombers it says it wants.

As a result of the contract, Northrop Grumman is expected to add 1,500 jobs at its Manned Aircraft Design Center of Excellence in Melbourne. Those workers will make an average of $100,000 a year, the company says.

As per the company, the initial $21 billion contract is for engineering and development of the LRSB. The second phase of the contract is a series of options to buy the first five production lots of the resulting aircraft—the first 21 bombers out of a projected final fleet of 100—at a cost of no more than $550 million (£360 million) per bomber (in 2010 dollars), though the initial cost per aircraft under Northrop’s proposal is $511 million (£334 million).

Northrop won opposite  a joint proposal from Boeing and Lockheed Martin.