USAF Readying for Big B-21 Raider Reveal

The B-21 Raider is the Air Force's first new bomber in more than 30 years.

In just a matter of days, the U.S. Air Force will unveil its first new bomber in more than 30 years. The Air Force’s sixth-generation, top-secret stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider, will officially be unveiled for the first time in public on Friday, December 2. 

When Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) announced the forthcoming unveiling months ago, it was with a photo offering a suggestive clue of the long awaited aircraft’s silhouette, draped under a sheet. Six B-21 bombers are currently in final assembly at the manufacturer’s facility in Palmdale, California. 

“The B-21 is the most advanced military aircraft ever built and is a product of pioneering innovation and technological excellence,” Doug Young, sector vice president and general manager, Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems, said in a statement in September. 

Just how much of the bomber will be revealed to the public Friday remains to be seen. “You probably won’t see it from all aspects,” Maj. Gen. Jason R. Armagost, Global Strike Command’s director of strategic plans, programs, and requirements predicted earlier this year, according to Air & Space Forces Magazine.

First Glimpse

The Air Force is broadcasting the unveiling of the B-21 Raider online Friday, December 2, at 8 p.m. EST  on its Facebook page.

“Designed to operate in tomorrow’s high-end threat environment, the B-21 will play a critical role in ensuring America’s enduring airpower capability,” the Air Force said.

The Air Force has said it intends to purchase at least 100 aircraft that will form the backbone of the service’s bomber force.

The first B-21 flight is projected for 2023 and will be scheduled based upon the outcomes of ground tests, Northrop Grumman said. The stealth bomber is designed to carry out long-range conventional and nuclear missions and is slated to hit full operations in the mid-2020s.

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