Tuesday, April 16, 2024

B-21 Raider nuclear stealth bomber continues progression to flight test

Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Air Force have released new images of the B-21 Raider stealth bomber. Rolled out in December of last year, the heavy nuclear stealth bomber now begins ground engine runs at Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale, California, facility.

Engine testing is an essential milestone for the U.S. Air Force’s ground test program as the world’s first sixth-generation aircraft continues on the path to flight test. The B-21’s first flight will remain a data-driven event that is monitored by Northrop Grumman and the United States Air Force.

As part of the Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) program, the B-21 Raider is to be a long-range, stealth intercontinental strategic bomber for the USAF. The B-21 Raider is named in honor of the Doolittle Raid of World War II when 80 airmen, led by Lt. Col. James “Jimmy” Doolittle, and 16 B-25 Mitchell medium bombers set off on a mission that changed the course of World War II.

Developed with the next generation of stealth technology, advanced networking capabilities, and open systems architecture, the B-21 Raider will serve as the backbone of America’s bomber fleet.

The aircraft has been designed to be extremely long-range, enabling it to operate anywhere in the world from U.S. territory without the need for forward bases. In addition to carrying conventional and thermonuclear weapons, the B-21 Raider will also deliver intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, electronic attack, and multi-domain networking capabilities.

In a dynamic global security environment, the B-21 will provide the flexibility and deterrence critical to the security of the U.S. and the company’s allies.

The Air Force will purchase at least 100 B-21 Raiders, with the first scheduled to go into service in 2027. The B-21 is to become the newest bomber in America’s arsenal. The U.S.’s three bombers – the B-1B Lancer, the B-2 Spirit, and the B-52 Stratofortress – will be joined or replaced by the B-21 Raider stealth bomber.