US Air Force's Secretive B-21 Bomber to Be Officially Unveiled in December Ahead of 2023 Tests
In July 2014, a request for proposals to create the aircraft was released. The Air Force had intended to buy 80 to 100 LRS-B aircraft for $550 million each in 2010, with the goal of eventually having 175 to 200 of them in service. The bomber might also reportedly be utilized as an interceptor, combat manager, and intelligence gathering platform.
The highly classified, next-generation US stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider, will finally come out of the shadows thanks to an official presentation planned for the first week of December by the US Air Force, Northrop Grumann announced.
According to a Breaking Defense report,
Andrew Hunter, an Air Force acquisition executive, revealed the rollout's timetable on Wednesday during a roundtable discussion with journalists at the Air, Space, and Cyber conference of the Air Force Association.
The ceremony, which will reportedly be held at Northrop Grumman's facility in Palmdale, California, where the B-21 is being produced, has not yet been given a firm date by the service.
"We are still working to nail down all the plans," Hunter is quoted as saying.
Northrop Grumman said in a statement that those fortunate enough to see the new bomber in person might only be able to look at it from a specific angle,
allowing the Air Force and company to prevent any secret information about its design from being gleaned by onlookers.
The presentation event will be "invitation only" and provide an "exclusive view" of the B-21.
"The B-21 is the most advanced military aircraft ever built and is a product of pioneering innovation and technological excellence,” Doug Young, Northrop’s sector vice president for aeronautics, said in a release. “The Raider showcases the dedication and skills of the thousands of people working every day to deliver this aircraft."
In 2015, Northrop Grumman won the B-21 contract over a Boeing-Lockheed Martin design team.
Six B-21s are currently being produced, according to information released so far by Northrop, with the initial flight set for 2023.
"The actual timing of first flight will be based on ground test outcomes," the release added.
The first B-21 bomber has reportedly left the assembly line and entered a calibration facility, where it will go through testing in March to make sure the structure of the aircraft complies with the Air Force's requirements.
In fiscal 2023, the Air Force sought $5 billion for the B-21, including $1.7 billion for procurement financing, though it will not say how many bombers it will actually purchase. The Air Force allegedly intends to purchase at least 100 B-21s in all.
The estimated cost of each B-21 in FY10 currency is $550 million.
24 November 2021, 17:19 GMT