The B-21 Raider stealth bomber, the most advanced aircraft known, made its second flight on January 17, the US Air Force (USAF) confirmed to some outlets.
“I can confirm the B-21 flew,” USAF spokeswoman Ann Stefanek wrote in an email to Air & Space Forces Magazine.
“Flight testing is a critical step in the test campaign managed by the Air Force Test and Test Wing’s B-21 Combined Test Force to provide survivable, long-range, penetrating strike capabilities to deter aggression and strategic attacks against the United States, allies and partners,” the service added.
The B-21 Raider was developed by Northrop Grumman as the first 6th generation aircraft, with technologies still unknown.
The flying-wing jet will replace the B-2 Spirit and B-1B Lancer as the Air Force’s primary strategic asset by mid-decade.
Northrop Grumman is assembling the first six aircraft in Palmdale, California, where the B-21 first took off on November 10 last year. That flight would have ended at Edwards Air Force Base, where the USAF will carry out major testing and development before entry into service.
Due to its confidential nature, actions surrounding the B-21 Raider are not announced by either the Air Force or Northrop Grumman. The aircraft’s only official appearance was in December and even then little was publicized.
The inaugural flight, however, was widely recorded by observers around Palmdale.
In Edwards, in turn, spotting the B-21 will be more difficult due to the huge area of the base, where dozens of famous aircraft have already been developed, such as the Bell X-1, the first plane to break the sound barrier in 1947.