17:27 GMT02 March 2021
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    The United States Air Force is preparing to test the secretive B-21 Raider in the near future and already the program has run into a series of “hiccups” with the plane’s engines, a US lawmaker told Defense News this week.

    While acknowledging that that program is still on track and that the prime contractor has done a good job handling subcontractors, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) said the program has run into numerous challenges.

    Regarding the "hiccups," Wittman, a member of the powerful House Armed Services Committee, told reporters in US capital: "this is an extraordinarily complex aircraft… The issue is not that you have these uncertainties. The issue is how you address them."

    "This is a very, very different design as far as airflow and there have been some design challenges there," the congressman said. According to the news outlet, Wittman said there have been a few "snags" in the development of the plane's wings.

    For its part, "the Air Force remains confident in the B-21's progress and in delivering this new capability in the mid-2020s," spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told Defense News.

    Few details have emerged about the shadowy B-21 Raider program, once known as the Long-Range Strike Bomber program. A US Air Force spokesperson confirmed Wednesday "for the first time ever… that the B-21 will be tested at Edwards Air Force Base" in California.

    The War Zone reported that B-21 development will cost $20 billion and that the Pentagon will spend at least another $100 billion to produce more than 100 B-21 Raiders. The Pentagon, however, has previously shut down lawmakers' attempts to make the Air Force disclose program costs.


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    B-21 Raider, B-21, US Air Force, Pentagon, Rob Wittman, Washington
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