Northrop Grumman finally unveiled the highly anticipated B-21 Raider on Friday, Dec. 2. This adds to the US Air Force’s nuclear triad to handle some of its most challenging military tasks.

The B-21 Raider is named in honor of the Dolittle Raiders of World War 2. By 2050, it will supplant the B-1B, B-2, and B-52 aircraft in the Air Force bomber fleet.

Since the conclusion of the Cold War, the US Air Force’s inventory has suffered greatly, and the number of heavy bombers available for action at any given moment has decreased to only 15, as per New Atlas.

us air force, northrop grumann, air force, b-21 raider
(Photo : FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
The B-21 Raider is unveiled during a ceremony at Northrop Grumman’s Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, December 2, 2022. – The high-tech stealth bomber can carry nuclear and conventional weapons and is designed to be able to fly without a crew on board. The B-21 — which is on track to cost nearly $700 million per plane and is the first new US bomber in decades — will gradually replace the B-1 and B-2 aircraft, which first flew during the Cold War.

New Age in Technology

The B-21 Raider heralds a new age in technology, according to Kathy Warden, CEO of Northrop Grumman, and is designed to improve the US role as a provider of peace through deterrence.

The B-21 Raider is minted to be the head of a potent family of systems that usher in a new era of capability and flexibility through cutting-edge data, sensor, and weapon integration. Northrop Grumman believes it will lay the groundwork for future air power in the country.

Stealth, information advantage, and open architecture are among the sixth-generation features of the B-21 Raider.

“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 US deterrence is at the heart of our National Defense Strategy,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said in a statement.

“This bomber was built on a foundation of strong, bipartisan support in Congress. And because of that support, we will soon fly this aircraft, test it and then move into production.”

B-21’s Capabilities

Northrop Gruman claims that the B-21 can network with many systems and into all domains throughout the battlespace.

The B-21 is also supported by a digital ecosystem, allowing it to quickly adapt through rapid technological advancements that give it new capabilities to surpass potential threats.

According to Tom Jones, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems, the B-21 will enable the US Air Force to neutralize or prevent threats anywhere in the world.

The Doolittle Raids changed the complexion of WW2 when 16 B-25 Mitchell medium bombers and 80 soldiers under the command of Lt. Col. James “Jimmy” Doolittle set off on a mission. The Air Force is immortalizing this event through the B-21.

The Raider is recognized as the first bomber of the twenty-first century by the designation B-21.

us air force, northrop grumann, air force, b-21 raider

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