Monday, May 20, 2024

Northrop Grumman unveils B-21 Raider, the world’s first sixth-generation aircraft

Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Air Force unveiled the B-21 Raider, its newest nuclear stealth bomber, which will replace all other heavy bombers in the American inventory. The B-21 joins the nuclear triad as a visible and flexible deterrent designed for the U.S. Air Force to meet its most complex missions.

After years of speculation as to the nature of the latest and most advanced stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider was introduced to the public at a tightly controlled ceremony at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The B-21 Raider is the first new American bomber in 30 years.

The stealth bomber forms the backbone of the future for U.S. air power, leading a powerful family of systems that deliver a new era of capability and flexibility through advanced integration of data, sensors, and weapons. Northrop Grumman described it as the world’s first sixth-generation aircraft with capabilities that include stealth, information advantage, and open architecture.

The B-21 Raider is a testament to America’s enduring advantages in ingenuity and innovation. And it’s 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. Now, strengthening and sustaining U.S. deterrence is at the heart of our National Defense Strategy,” said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III. “This bomber was built on a foundation of strong, bipartisan support in Congress. And because of that support, we will soon fly this aircraft, test it and then move into production.”

The B-21 Raider is capable of networking across the battlespace to multiple systems and into all domains. Supported by a digital ecosystem throughout its lifecycle, military aircraft can quickly evolve through rapid technology upgrades that provide new capabilities to outpace future threats.

“With the B-21, the U.S. Air Force will be able to deter or defeat threats anywhere in the world,” said Tom Jones, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems. “The B-21 exemplifies how Northrop Grumman is leading the industry in digital transformation and digital engineering, ultimately delivering more value to our customers.”

The B-21 Raider is named after the Dolittle Raiders of the Second World War when 80 men, 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. The designation B-21 recognizes the Raider as the first bomber of the 21st century. It will join the B-1B, B-2, and B-52 aircraft of the Air Force bomber fleet and will eventually replace all of them by 2050.