In a spectacular and massive event, the Air Force unveiled the B21 Raider, the U.S. Army's new flagship stealth bomber. The aircraft is the first of the so-called sixth generation to see the light of day and represents an enormous qualitative leap compared to current aircraft. Each vehicle will cost $700 million.
According to the Air Force, this aircraft, together with the B-52, "will form the backbone of the future Air Force bomber force." As explained during the presentation, "the B-21 Raider will be a dual-capable, penetrating-strike stealth bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions." It is expected to be operational in 2027 and the Department of Defense has committed to procuring at least 100 units.
Unveiled today, the B-21 Raider will be a dual-capable, penetrating-strike stealth bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions. The B-21 will form the backbone of the future Air Force bomber force consisting of B-21s and B-52s.(U.S. Air Force photo) pic.twitter.com/X6KSU7sy6U
— U.S. Air Force (@usairforce) December 3, 2022
For Secretary of Defense Lloyd H. Austin III, "The B-21 is a testament to the best of America’s vibrant and diverse industrial base. It’s this sort of advance that makes us great and this sort of advance doesn’t just happen. It takes investment. It takes cooperation. And it takes partnership". During the presentation ceremony, Austin stressed that the commitment to this aircraft is "proof of the Department's long-term commitment to building advanced capabilities that will fortify America's ability to deter aggression, today and into the future."
.@SecDef: [The @USAirForce’s B-21 Raider is] proof of the Department’s long-term commitment to building advanced capabilities that will fortify America’s ability to deter aggression, today and into the future. pic.twitter.com/93ahmw90Ar
— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) December 3, 2022
'Tribute to the 'Doolittle Raiders.'
The Department of Defense issued a statement explaining that "the B-21 raider is expected to serve within a larger family of systems for conventional long-range strikes, including intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance; electronic attack; communication; and other capabilities. It is nuclear capable and designed to accommodate manned or unmanned operations. Additionally, it will be able to employ a broad mix of stand-off and direct-attack munitions."
The name selected is not accidental either. Thus, the official note points out that "the designation "B-21", according to the Air Force, was chosen because the aircraft is the first new bomber of the 21st century, while the name "Raider" was chosen to represent the Doolittle Raiders, which carried out a surprise attack during World War II."
From Northrop Grumman, the creators of the B-21, they highlighted that thanks to its characteristics, this aircraft will be "the world’s first sixth-generation aircraft and a visible and flexible deterrent designed for the U.S. Air Force to meet its most complex missions." The company stressed that the bomber "benefits from more than three decades of attack and stealth technology."
According to the engineers, "in addition to its advanced long-range precision strike capabilities that will enable Combat Commanders the ability to keep any target, anywhere in the world at risk, at any time. It has also been designed as the main component of a larger family of systems that will provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, electronic attack and multi-domain networking capabilities."
In partnership with the @usairforce, we unveiled the B-21 Raider today. The world’s first sixth-generation aircraft joins the nuclear triad as a visible and flexible deterrent designed for the U.S. Air Force to meet its most complex missions. https://t.co/Ux6KVyTJPf pic.twitter.com/COQfOrVUKL
— Northrop Grumman (@NGCNews) December 3, 2022