02:17 GMT +318 October 2019
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    An artist rendering shows the first image of a new Northrop Grumman Corp long-range bomber B21 in this image released on February 26, 2016

    New Secretive US B-21 Raider Bomber Set for Testing

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    The Pentagon’s highly anticipated next-generation bomber is finally ready for testing.

    "For the first time ever, I would like to publicly announce that the B-21 will be tested at Edwards Air Force Base," Brigadier General Carl Schaefer said at a business conference in Palmdale, California, near the air base, March 3. "Edwards has been the home of the bomber test and now we also can publicly release that the B-21 is coming to Edwards and we will be testing it here in the near future."

    The highly classified program once flew under the Long-Range Strike Bomber moniker but has since been renamed the B-21 Raider. The future Raider fleet will replace the US Air Force's B-2 Spirit, also known simply as the Stealth Bomber.

    Besides a few scant details showing that the B-21 will provide some capabilities similar to the B-2's, not much is known about the plane. The Pentagon has refused to state how much the program even costs out of concern that near-peer adversaries will glean too much information about it.

    One of the biggest former advocates of releasing more information about the program is Matthew Donovan, who called for more transparency about the new bomber program when he worked closely with Senator John McCain's office as a policy director for the Senate Armed Forces Committee. After being promoted to undersecretary to the US Air Force under President Donald Trump, however, Donovan completely switched his position on B-21 secrecy.

    Last October, Donovan told Defense News it would be "some time" before the service discloses any budget documents relating to the B-21. Donovan said "it's funny because they knew I was the guy that was always pushing on" releasing the financial records "from the Senate side."

    Related:

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    US Air Force Selects Finalists for Name of New B-21 Strategic Bomber
    ‘B-21 Raider’: Future Air Force Stealth Bomber Gets New Name
    US B-21 Raider Long-Distance Bomber Program Remains Shrouded in Secrecy
    Congress Slashes $20M From Pentagon’s Secret B-21 Project
    Tags:
    Long Range Strike-Bomber, B-21, US Air Force, Calfornia
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