This week, the U.S. Military unveiled the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider, a new strategic long-range stealth bomber that will form the foundation of American air power for decades to come.
At a formal ceremony held on Friday night in Palmdale, California, the U.S. Air Force debuted the bomber, according to a report by The Daily Wire.
The bomber will go into service in the following several years, gradually replacing the outdated B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit bombers that are now in use.
Since the end of the Cold War, more than three decades ago, the B-21 is the first new bomber that the United States has created. At least 100 B-21s, each costing over $700 million, are anticipated to be in service.
Northrop Grumman highlighted some of the key features of the new bomber:
- Sixth Generation. The B-21 Raider benefits from more than three decades of strike and stealth technology. It is the next evolution of the Air Force strategic bomber fleet. Developed with the next generation of stealth technology, advanced networking capabilities and an open systems architecture, the B-21 is optimized for the high-end threat environment. It will play a critical role in helping the Air Force meet its most complex missions.
- Stealth. Northrop Grumman is continuously advancing technology, employing new manufacturing techniques and materials to ensure the B-21 will defeat the anti-access, area-denial systems it will face.
- Backbone of the Fleet. The B-21 Raider forms the backbone of the future for U.S. air power. The B-21 will deliver a new era of capability and flexibility through advanced integration of data, sensors and weapons. Capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear payloads, the B-21 will be one of the most effective aircraft in the sky, with the ability to use a broad mix of stand-off and direct attack munitions.
- A Digital Bomber. The B-21 is a digital bomber. Northrop Grumman uses agile software development, advanced manufacturing techniques and digital engineering tools to help mitigate production risk on the B-21 program and enable modern sustainment practices. Six B-21 Raiders are in various stages of final assembly and test at Northrop Grumman’s plant in Palmdale, California.
- Cloud Technology. Northrop Grumman and the Air Force successfully demonstrated the migration of B-21 ground systems data to a cloud environment. This demonstration included the development, deployment and test of B-21 data, including the B-21 digital twin, that will support B-21 operations and sustainment. This robust cloud-based digital infrastructure will result in a more maintainable and sustainable aircraft with lower-cost infrastructure.
- Open Architecture. To meet the evolving threat environment, the B-21 has been designed from day one for rapid upgradeability. Unlike earlier generation aircraft, the B-21 will not undergo block upgrades. New technology, capabilities and weapons will be seamlessly incorporated through agile software upgrades and built-in hardware flexibility. This will ensure the B-21 Raider can continuously meet the evolving threat head on for decades to come.
- Global Reach. The B-21 Raider will be the backbone of the U.S. bomber fleet and pivotal to supporting our nation’s strategic deterrence strategy. In addition to its advanced long-range precision strike capabilities that will afford Combatant Commanders the ability to hold any target, anywhere in the world at risk, 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. In a dynamic global security environment, the B-21 will provide the flexibility and deterrence critical to the security of the U.S. and our allies.
“The B-21 Raider is the first strategic bomber in more than three decades,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin said during the ceremony.
“It 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.”