In development for several years, the B-21 Raider, the new US Air Force (USAF) stealth bomber, will roll out on December 2, its manufacturer, Northrop Grumman, announced on Thursday.
The USAF had already revealed that the public presentation of the 6th generation aircraft would take place in early December, but without providing an exact date.
The unveiling stage will be the same as its predecessor, the B-2 Spirit, the so-called Plant 42, in Palmdale, California, where the Air Force has classified aircraft production facilities.
Like the B-2, the B-21 also has the shape of a flying wing, a proposal that was defended for years by Jack Northrop, founder of the company that bears his name, now associated with Grumman.
At least 100 B-21 bombers are expected
Even considered a smaller aircraft, the Raider promises performance far beyond what is available to the USAF today. According to Northrop Grumman, the B-21 will be able to “penetrate enemy air defenses and hit targets anywhere in the world.”
It’s not yet clear how many aircraft the US will order, but the goal is to have at least 100 bombers, a much larger fleet than the expensive B-2, which had just 21 planes built.
— Northrop Grumman (@northropgrumman) October 20, 2022
Three air bases vie for the privilege of having the B-21 Raider as a guest, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota; Dyess Air Force Base, Texas; and Whiteman, Missouri, where the B-2s are located today.
Although there is a mystery about its real forms, several illustrations released by the US government and the manufacturer already give a good idea of what the B-21 will look like.
Another certainty is that the new strategic bomber will be much cheaper than the B-2. Entry into service is expected by the middle of this decade.