The latest approach is for the USAF to limit itself to $550M/frame:
Despite the record and potential pitfalls, Air Force officials say they are determined to deliver at or under the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s cost target for the new bomber, which is an average procurement unit price of $550 million; this includes development, the purchases and associated construction divided by the total number of units.
Interesting how this is all DoD folks (SecDef, etc). What makes them think that the money for a new bomber program is there to begin with? It kind of reminds me of how my friend's teenage daughter proposes spending his money for him.
Interesting view indeed:
Thomas Christie, a former Pentagon chief tester, says: “It is the same game all over again. . . . You grossly underestimate the cost and schedule in order to get going. You oversell and [yet] it proceeds.” He says the Air Force, which is the most technology oriented of the U.S. military services, will be unable to resist overloading the program with excessive requirements. “This system that we are talking about will be the only game in town. . . . There will be an incentive for every laboratory and every subcontractor to gild a little bit. This is the only game where they will get to put their little piece of technology.” He suggests the price will be as high as $2-3 billion per copy.
It's the same thing we're seeing with F-35. You start out with a clear mandate everyone says they agree too, and then you turn your back for a minute and before you know it you have something so expensive that the nation can't afford to buy it.