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Eyes on the Prize: Boeing and Lockheed Martin on Jan. 25 formally announced their partnership to compete jointly for the rights to build the Air Force’s next-generation bomber that the service envisions fielding in 2018, per the Quadrennial Defense Review timeline. The collaborative activities for the two companies will include work in advanced sensors and future electronic warfare solutions, including advancements in network-enabled battle management, command and control, and virtual warfare simulation and experimentation, they said in a joint statement. With their announcement, the two aerospace giants likely will now face the team that Northrop Grumman will assemble for the forthcoming contest, which is expected to start formally when USAF issues a request for proposals around 2010. The new bomber remains the Air Force’s fifth highest procurement priority behind a new tanker, rescue helicopter, modern satellites, and the F-35. (For more on the partnership, read Secret Marriage)