The US Air Force released its budget for fiscal year 2022 on Friday and included two of its most important future programs, the stealth bomber B-21 Raider and Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD), an advanced fighter that will replace the F-22 Raptor.
In the first budget sent to the Biden administration, the two future aircraft received more resources. The Northrop Grumman bomber had its budget expanded by $474 million to $3.3 billion as of October. The experimental fighter will have $1.5 billion to continue its development.
The B-21 Raider is being built at Plant 42, in Palmdale, and is due to make its inaugural flight in 2022 after some delays in the schedule. The USAF expects to have the first planes in the mid-2020s that will be deployed at Ellsworth Air Base.
The NGAD program, in turn, is expected to move forward in the next fiscal year thanks to the greater volume of resources. A demonstrator aircraft made its first flight in 2020 in an unexpected way. The Air Force has made use of digital processors that aim to accelerate its development, but the jet still remains unknown.
In addition to investing in its two most modern aircraft, the USAF has also increased the budget for the modernization program for the B-52 bomber.
The ‘BUFF’ (Big Ugly Fat Fella), as it is known, is undergoing the most comprehensive update of its long career, which includes replacing the eight engines with a modern and more economical turbofan, among other items such as a new radar.
The Stratofortress will have $716 million to continue the plan to keep it in service for about a century.