Dave Majumdar at Flight Global has commentary (but no link such as this) concerning an aircraft design patent application by Northrop Grumman. He speculates a bit as to its relevance to a possible Long Range Strike design that NG may, or may not, have in the works.
This design concept is not 'New'.Popular Science used an artist's concept of the design as a visual aid to discuss (poorly) potential advancements and their relevance:
But before that, (March 2009) John Croft at Flight Global noted the filing of the patent:
And in December 2007, Graham Warwick ALSO had a Flight Global post up commenting on an non-LRS application for apparently the same design: the "Speed Agile" project.:
(The canards make sense for a STOL airlifter more than anything else.)
Modularity SmodularityAs to Dave's "Interestingly, one of the big innovations was that it was designed for modular construction--which could make it less ungodly expensive" line, I note that the design 'modularity' looks almost JUST like the B-2's design approach. Note that MOST of the B-2 was assembled from modules built outside then-Northrop:
In case it needs to be said, again, the reason the B-2 became 'ungodly expensive' is ONLY because of two reasons:
1. The late change in requirements that tasked Northrop to build a bomber that could also fly low-level instead of the initial requirement for only high-altitude operation. This late requirement forced a redesign and stretched the development schedule.
2. The 'buy' getting cut from 132 bombers to 20 bombers. this was by far the biggest cost contributor to the whole program.