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Northrop's New Bomber: Northrop Grumman has a new high-energy laser bomber concept in the works that the company believes could tackle a mix of interdiction, strike, and special operations missions. The maker of the B-2 stealth bomber demonstrated its new concept—in a virtual world—earlier this year during an annual war game exercise hosted by Air Force Research Lab's Directed Energy Directorate at Kirtland AFB, N.M. Working with a variety of munitions and weapons systems, including an electronic attack platform, a Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle, and an F-35, Northrop principal investigator Robert Smerke, said, "In all cases, we demonstrated that the HEL bomber could be an effective partner in helping establish air superiority." The Northrop concept also carried a special ops team in a pressurized, self-contained pod, dropping them into the simulated action.