Business & Economy

Palmdale plant flourishes under bomber program

A B-2 Stealth Bomber sits at the Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in Palmdale, California on July 17, 2014. The US Air Force and manufacturer Northrop Grumman celebrated the 25th anniversary of the plane's first flight.
A B-2 Stealth Bomber sits at the Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in Palmdale, California on July 17, 2014. The US Air Force and manufacturer Northrop Grumman celebrated the 25th anniversary of the plane's first flight.
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

Call it the bomber boom.

A Northrop contract to build top-secret B-21 stealth bombers has brought more than a thousand new employees to the Mojave Desert.

The contract for 100 of the bat-winged aircraft is estimated to run about $80 billion.

A B-2 Stealth Bomber pulls up on the runway after landing at the Palmdale Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence on July 17, 2014.
A B-2 Stealth Bomber pulls up on the runway after landing at the Palmdale Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence on July 17, 2014.
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Times says Northrop's Palmdale plant has 3,000 workers and expects that to grow to 5,200 by late 2019. It also plans to add a million square feet of space to the plant.

Military projects have reinvigorated Southern California's aerospace industry, which shrank in the decades after World War II.

Northrop's plant also builds drones for the Air Force and the Navy and part of Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

A B-2 Spirit stealth bomber makes a fly-over at Soldier Field on September 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.
A B-2 Spirit stealth bomber makes a fly-over at Soldier Field on September 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images