(Reuters) - U.S. weapons maker Northrop Grumman Corp <NOC.N> said on Thursday it had elected General Mark Welsh, former U.S. Air Force chief of staff, to its board.
Welsh, who was the Air Force's chief of staff last year when it gave Northrop a coveted contract for a new long-range strike bomber, is currently Dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.
The estimated $80 billion program, expected to produce 100 aircraft, has been shrouded in secrecy since its inception. Northrop is expected to have aircraft ready for combat no sooner than 2025.
With the addition of Welsh, Northrop's board increases to 14 members, 13 of whom are independent directors.
(Reporting by Richa Naidu in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)