Northrop and the US Air Force to release stealth bomber B-21 very soon

The vessel will represent a generational leap in aircraft technology.
Loukia Papadopoulos
The B-21 Raider.jpg
The B-21 Raider

Northrop Grumman 

Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Air Force will introduce the B-21 stealth bomber on December 2nd 2022, according to a press release by the multinational aerospace and defense technology company.  

A generational leap in aircraft technology

The advent of the bomber will represent a generational leap in aircraft technology and development. The B-21 is the Air Force’s first new bomber in more than three decades and it has been designed to be advanced enough to qualify as a sixth-generation aircraft.

Furthermore, the B-21 Raider will be capable of penetrating the toughest defenses to deliver precision strikes anywhere in the world.

“The B-21 is the most advanced military aircraft ever built and is a product of pioneering innovation and technological excellence,” said in the statement Doug Young, sector vice president and general manager, Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems. “The Raider showcases the dedication and skills of the thousands of people working every day to deliver this aircraft.”

Northrop Grumman got the contract to build the advanced machine back in 2015 and  has since then assembled a nationwide team to design, test and develop the world’s most advanced strike aircraft. As such, it can be said that the B-21 is a product of Northrop Grumman’s pioneering digital engineering practices and advanced manufacturing techniques together with breakthrough stealth technology.

“Northrop Grumman is proud of our partnership with the U.S. Air Force as we deliver the B-21 Raider, a sixth-generation aircraft optimized for operations in highly contested environments,” said Tom Jones, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems.

Currently there are six B-21 test aircraft in various stages of final assembly in Palmdale, California. Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Air Force jointly announced in May that the B-21’s first flight will be undertaken in 2023. The actual timing of the first flight will be based on ground test outcomes and the unveiling of the aircraft once ready will take place at Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale site, during an invitation-only event.

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A first maiden flight yet to be achieved

In March of 2022, we reported that the B-21 was ready for its maiden flight, perhaps a little too early as there is currently no indication that it was achieved. At the time, it was announced that the assembly of the first B-21 had been completed and that the aircraft had moved to the calibration testing phase.

Although this indicated that the aircraft now looked much like the renders and prototypes that were previously released, it had not, however, been assigned a tail number or name yet.

It was also undergoing thorough calibration testing, to evaluate whether its structure is actually what the designs intended it to be and if the aircraft can address the needs of its users. The tests were also undertaken to determine if the manufacturing followed through with the design specifications.

The U.S. Air Force currently has ambitious plans to acquire 100 B-21 Raiders that will be strategically based at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, and Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.