"I think we will have opportunities to compete technologies that can go into the bomber to a degree we would not have had on other programs before," Kendall told the media yesterday.
That means a number of things that could shake up the defense industry, Defense News reports. For example, the company that builds the plane has traditionally been awarded upgrade contracts – that won't necessarily be the case for the replacement to the B-1 (shown above) and the long-serving B-52.
Beyond that, the new aircraft is being designed with an eye towards modularity, this decade's beloved Pentagon buzzword. That will make slotting in upgrades a far easier affair than in the past.
"The design is structured so that we have the opportunity to insert technology refresh in a way which we have not had the flexibility to do in the past," Kendall said.
Defense One reports that not only will modularity play a big role, the Pentagon is seeking greater access to its aircraft's intellectual property. That'd ease the upgrade process and makes transferring data between aircraft easier, which has been a problem in the past.
"In order to do this well, you have to basically control the interfaces and control the design at the modular level," Kendall told reporters, adding that a company that includes intellectual property with its bid "makes an offer more attractive to us."
At the same time, though, the contract needs to be "respectful to industry's rights, but at the same time protects the government's interests," Kendall said.