10:36 GMT25 July 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US military published an image of the nuclear-capable B-21 stealth bomber now under development, a futuristic weapon intended to fly with or without human pilots, the Air Force said on Tuesday.

    "Designed to perform long-range conventional and nuclear missions and to operate in tomorrow’s high-end threat environment, the B-21 will be a visible and flexible component of the nuclear triad," an Air Force press release with an artist’s rendering said.

    The wedge-shaped aircraft topped with a slat window hump and no visible means of propulsion resembles the B-2 bomber, which the B-21 is intended to replace.

    "The B-21 Raider will be a component of a larger family of systems for conventional Long Range Strike, including Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, electronic attack, communication and other capabilities. It will be nuclear capable and designed to accommodate manned or unmanned operations," an accompanying Air Force fact sheet said.

    The Air Force plans to incrementally replace the B-1 and B-2 bombers to form a two bomber fleet of B-21s and modified B-52s.

    The B-21 is slated to become operational in the mid-2020s, the Air Force said.


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