The B-21 Raider is coming as the first brand-new stealth bomber in 34 years

B-21 Raider Stealth Bomber
B-21 Raider Stealth Bomber

After a long wait of more than 34 years, the United States Air Force is about to unveil its first stealth bomber. In a press release accompanied by a brief teaser, Northrop Grumman announced that the B-21 Raider would be unveiled on December 2.

The bombers in the U.S. Air Force are getting on in years. Unfortunately, due to improvements in enemy air defense systems, less than 10% of the fleet is now able to defeat these barriers. The range and penetrability that the United States Air Force currently requires is beyond the capabilities of the renowned B-1 and B-52s and, to a lesser extent, the B-2s.

And that's where the B-21 Raider comes in.

The B-21's capabilities are still largely a mystery, but it has been said before that the plane will be able to carry both regular weapons and nuclear weapons.

The fact that Northrop Grumman, which also made the B-2 Spirit and supplies the stealth system on the F-35, has been awarded the contract to develop the B-21 means that it is highly likely to feature cutting-edge stealth technology.

The U.S. Air Force is reportedly planning to purchase 100 of these planes, giving them a prominent role in the service's future attack strategies.

With Northrop Grumman's public unveiling of the plane, its maiden voyage is drawing ever nearer.

B-21 Raider Stealth Bomber
B-21 Raider Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri

The B-21 Raider will soon take to the skies.

The assembly of six B-21 Raiders is currently underway at Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, California, facility, and has been covering even the smallest of updates from the Northrop Grumman stable about the B-21.

This is a significant improvement from the last report in March, when only one plane had been assembled and was beginning the calibration testing phase. Knowing that all eyes will be on the B-21 after its unveiling, Northrop Grumman will likely rush through the remaining steps before the plane takes to the skies.

Such measures would include running the engine on its power plant and checking the hydraulics at low and high speeds for leaks. Once this is completed, the first flight is expected in 2023, as confirmed by the United States Air Force. While the original schedule called for a test flight in 2022, this setback is not expected to have a significant impact on the Air Force's long-term goals for the plane.

The B-21 stealth bomber will be strategically deployed at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, and Dyess Air Force Base in Texas once production of the planes begins at Northrop Grumman. Even Northrop Grumman is mum on when this might happen, but it's possible it could be as soon as the middle of this decade.

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