Northrop Grumman on Friday unveiled the latest “B-21 Raider” in Palmdale, California. B-21 is a sixth-generation, bomber aircraft capable of conducting nuclear strikes. It is expected that B-21 will conduct its maiden flight in 2023. Northrop Grumman states that 6 prototypes are in “various stages of final assembly” in California.
Northrop Grumman won the contract for the development of the B-21 Raider in 2015, beating Boeing. B-21 was presented in front of hundreds of journalists, Northrop Grumman employees, and VIPs gathered at US Air Force’s Plant 42 in Palmdale, California. B-2 Spirit was also unveiled at the same location in 1988. B-21 Raider is developed to replace B-1 and B-2 Strategic bombers in service with the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC).
Northrop Grumman has unveiled the B-21 Raider, the first sixth-generation aircraft and the US Air Force's new stealth bomber pic.twitter.com/2ixIzD4vE7
— Umair Aslam (@Defense785) December 3, 2022
This aircraft is primarily developed for Long-range precision strikes as well as to maintain nuclear deterrence. The advanced stealth technologies of B-21 will enable it to conduct penetrating strike operations. It is capable to carry B-61 nuclear bombs as well as conventional weapons. United States Air Force (USAF) planned to induct 100 such aircraft in the coming years after the formal induction of the B-21 raider and retirement of the B-1 lancer and B-2 spirit strategic bombers.
Comments on B-21 Raiders by US Officials:
It has also been designed as the lead component of a larger family of systems that will deliver intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, electronic attack, and multi-domain networking capabilities, Northrop Grumman said.
“The Northrop Grumman team develops and delivers technology that advances science, looks into the future and brings it to the here and now,” said Kathy Warden, chair, chief executive officer, and president, Northrop Grumman.
“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.
Umair Aslam is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Global Defense Insight. He has worked as a defense journalist reporting on military modernization programs, nuclear non-proliferation, arms control, and the South Asian Arms race.