21:16 GMT +323 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

    US Air Force's Top SECRET B-21 Bomber to Be Armed With NUCLEAR Weapons – Report

    © REUTERS / U.S. Air Force
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    The US’ futuristic B-21 Raider bomber, which has been described by media outlets as a “black” programme, meaning a highly classified military project, is expected to include cutting-edge sensors, attack technology, as well as a new generation of weapons and stealth applications.

    The US Air Force’s highly-secret B-21 stealth bomber will “likely, if not certain” be armed with a Long-Range Stand-Off Weapon (LRSO), a now-in-development nuclear-tipped air-launched cruise missile, Warrior Maven reported.

    READ MORE: US Air Force Picks South Dakota Base to House Next-Gen B-21 Stealth Bombers

    The website made a reference to the Air Force Acquisition Report, which said that the LRSO is being designed to be compatible with the B-52 bomber and the futuristic B-21 Raider, and that the Air Force will acquire as many as 1,000 LRSOs.

    The Air Force report also sets out a timetable for the integration of nuclear weapons with the B-21 Raider, specifying that there will be “nuclear certification within two years of declaring initial operational capability”, which is planned for 2030.

    According to Warrior Maven, US Air Force weapons developers think that the LRSO, which is being built to replace the aging AGM-86B Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM), would make it possible to carry out attacks “deep within enemy territory”, hit inaccessible targets, as well as help overcome certain high-tech challenges posed by adversaries’ air defences.

    Last month, the Air Force told a Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Airland hearing that the B-21 jet was “executing the way we want” and that the next “major milestone” will be the first flight. The B-21, currently under development by Northrop Grumman, is tipped to replace the existing fleet of B-1 and B-2 jets, and will be housed at the Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.

    Related:

    US’ B-21 Stealth Bomber on Track, Headed for First Flight - Air Force
    US Air Force Picks South Dakota Base to House Next-Gen B-21 Stealth Bombers
    US Air Force Reveals Where Secretive B-21 Bombers Will Be Stationed
    New Secretive US B-21 Raider Bomber Set for Testing
    Congress Slashes $20M From Pentagon’s Secret B-21 Project
    US Air Force Reveals Support Bases for Secretive B-21 Raider Bomber
    ‘A Good Example’: Secret B-21 Program Passes Developmental Review on Schedule
    Tags:
    B-21, B-52, B-1 bomber, B-2 bomber, cruise missile, nuclear weapons, Air Force, United States
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