The B-21 Raider first bomber of 21st century and the US Air Force’s next stealth bomber, will be unveiled to the public for the first time in early December, Air Force acquisition chief Andrew Hunter said Tuesday.
After 33 years of the huge gap, the world will finally see a new strategic bomber and stealth bomber in the world after B-2. After years of suspense, the U.S. Air Force has finally confirmed that the B-21 Raider stealth bomber will break cover in a ceremony hosted and sponsored by the Northrop Grumman Corporation at its production facilities in Palmdale, California.
Andrew Hunter, assistant secretary of the U.S. Air Force revealed at the 2022 aviation, space and network conference that the first B-21 “Raider” program will debut at the end of this year, which is confirmed by the manufacturer Northrop Grumman, which means that this new bomber, since its launch in 2014, is about to usher in the “harvest time”.
As the successor to the B-2’s wing-layout stealth strategic bomber, the B-21 Raider program remains highly secretive. The first six prototypes, currently being built at U.S. Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, an aircraft manufacturing plant jointly managed by the U.S. Air Force and the Northrop Grumman, was also the site of the B-2 stealth strategic bomber, the result of the Advanced Tactical Bomber (ATB) program of the 1980s.
Northrop Grumman revealed that the unveiling ceremony in early December this year, there will be “invitees” to attend, generally speaking, the workers and families of the aircraft manufacturers, the Pentagon, the U.S. Air Force executives, etc. In November 1988, the first B-2 prototype with the aircraft number 82-1066/AV-1 was first publicly unveiled at this factory, and it first flew in July of the second year, and the B-21 is also expected to make its first flight next year, the debut ceremony, more precisely the new aircraft off the production line, related ground tests. In particular, aircraft static tests are still being promoted.
The announcement comes at a time when the United States is at crossroads with two of its biggest adversaries – Russia in the East European region and China in the Indo-Pacific. Both Russia and China are also working on their stealth bomber programs, PAK-DA and H-2O, respectively.
Further, the U.S. Air Force has strengthened and enhanced its Bomber Task Force (BTF) missions with the existing fleet of B-52 and the B-2 Spirit with frequent flights over Europe. Once the B-21 is deployed, it will add more teeth to the American Air Force’s long-range bombing capability.
“The unveiling of the B-21 Raider will be a historic moment for our Air Force and the nation,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr.
“We last introduced a new bomber over 30 years ago. As we look to the threats posed by our pacing challenge; we must continue to rapidly modernize. The B-21 Raider will provide formidable combat capability across a range of operations in highly contested environments of the future.”
The B-21 Raider is a 5th generation stealth bomber, possessing the same flying wing design as the B-2 Spirit series born in 1989.
The US Air Force has not revealed the features of the B-21 series, but it is expected to integrate advanced stealth technology, carry many weapons and be highly automated.
Stealth ability and modern weapons make B-21 known as America’s new generation stealth assassin.
The B-21 project has a development cost of about 23.5 billion USD, of which the production cost of each is about 656 million USD. The first aircraft could be commissioned in 2025.
The Pentagon plans to purchase 100 of these aircraft to replace the B-2s and part of the B-1B Lancer fleet. Currently, the cost of the B-21 is only 1/3 of the B-2 aircraft.
Although the B-2 is highly appreciated in combat, the manufacturing and operating costs are too expensive.
Once the B-21 enters service, they will gradually replace the tasks that the B-2 is undertaking in the role of infiltrating the enemy’s dense defense network to strike and destroy important targets. important