The US Air Force's Newest B-21 Raider Nuclear Bomber

B-21 Raider nuclear bomber
B-21 Raider nuclear bomber

Militarymedia.net | The US Air Force has released a new digital rendering of the B-21 Raider heavy strategic nuclear bomber, along with more information about the fighter. It is being built by Northrop Grumman as part of the Air Force's Long Range Strike Bomber program to modernize one leg of the US nuclear deterrence triad, consisting of bombers, land-based missiles, and submarine-based missiles.

The latest renders not only feature an updated version of the delta-winged stealth bomber, but also have Edwards Air Force Base, California in the background, where the 420th Flight Test Squadron is tasked with flight planning, testing, analysis and reporting. and ground testing of the B-21.

The B-21 has passed a critical design review and is currently in the Engineering and Manufacturing Development stage. This phase deals not only with the right aircraft, but also with the associated manufacturing infrastructure and industrial supply chains.

Scheduled to enter service in 2027, the B-21 Raider is designed to operate alongside the B-52 Stratofortress, B-1 Lancer, and B-2 Spirit bombers. As the B-21 fleet grows to the anticipated size of more than 100 airframes, it will replace the B-1 and B-2, and also the B-52 if a continued life extension program is not undertaken.

The B-21 is designed as a dual-capable stealth bomber that can carry both conventional and nuclear weapons in stand-off and direct attack versions. Along with Raider, the Long-Range Strike program will also include the development of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, electronic attack, communications, and other capabilities. In addition, it will be able to operate with or without a crew, depending on the mission, and has an open architecture that is easy to upgrade.

In development since 2015, the B-21 is being built by Northrop Grumman with subcontracts by Pratt & Whitney, Janicki Industries, Collins Aerospace, GKN Aerospace, BAE Systems, and Spirit Aerosystems.

Costing $639 million each in 2019 dollars, the Raiders were named after the Doolittle Raiders, which were the U.S. Air Force unit that carried out the Tokyo Raid on April 18, 1942. The raid consisted of 16 carrier-launched B-25 Mitchell medium bombers, and dropped the first bombs on the seemingly unreachable mainland of Japan, forcing the Japanese to withdraw troops and aircraft for homeland defense.

The first B-21 operational base, Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, will serve as the Formal Training Unit. Other major bases will include Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri; and Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. At a congressional hearing in June 2021, acting Air Force Assistant Secretary of Air Force Acquisition, Technology & Logistics, Darlene Costello, said that two prototypes had been completed and were undergoing testing.

"Nuclear modernization is a top priority for the Department of Defense and the Air Force, and the B-21 is key to that plan," said Randall Walden, director of the Air Force's Office of Rapid Capability. “The B-21's built-in open systems architecture makes the bomber effective as the threat environment evolves. This aircraft design approach puts the nation on the right track to ensuring America's enduring air power capability."

Related Posts

Related Posts

Posting Komentar