US Engineers at Lockheed Martin in Marietta, Georgia, are developing conceptual designs for a long-range high-speed bomber that can alter its shape and use advanced stealth technologies to blend into the background.
The F/B-22 is a variant on Lockheed’s stealth fighter, the F/A-22 Raptor.
A number of technologies are being considered for the aircraft, including ‘conformal’ fuel tanks that once empty can be pulled inside the plane to improve its aerodynamic performance.
The team of 50 engineers is also looking at ways of making the plane stealthier, including the development of new composite materials and electrical systems that enable it to change colour to match the sky around it.
A Lockheed spokeswoman said that while there is currently no funding for the project, the fact that it is based on a plane that has already been designed, tested and proven is likely to be a key attraction for a US military increasingly concerned with cost reduction.