The US Air Force has announced that it plans to unveil its highly-classified B-21 bomber aircraft in the first week of December.
The much-anticipated ceremony will be hosted by Northrop Grumman at its production facility in California.
According to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr, introducing the B-21 Raider to the public for the first time will be a historic moment for both the service and the country.
He further stated that the US last introduced a bomber aircraft more than three decades ago, and the unveiling would reflect the rapid modernization of the air force to address emerging threats.
“The B-21 Raider will provide formidable combat capability across a range of operations in highly contested environments of the future,” Brown said.
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‘Most Advanced Military Aircraft’
The B-21 Raider is a long-range, “highly-survivable” strike stealth bomber capable of carrying a mix of conventional and nuclear ordnance.
It is designed as a visible and flexible nuclear deterrent, ensuring national security and providing the needed support to allies.
According to Northrop Grumman, the aircraft will provide the US with a “strategic asset” capable of penetrating enemy air defenses and reaching targets 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,” company official Doug Young said. “The Raider showcases the dedication and skills of the thousands of people working every day to deliver this aircraft.”
The Raider is set to replace the US Air Force’s B-1 and B-2 bombers.
At present, there are six B-21 test aircraft in various stages of final assembly in California.
The US Air Force and Northrop estimate that the bomber will conduct its maiden flight in 2023, depending on ground test results.
After the December unveiling, developers will continue rigorous testing of the Raider to verify its performance and identify areas for improvement.
The service will also ensure that advanced communications, sensors, and a broad mix of weapons and supporting systems are properly integrated into the aircraft.
“The B-21 program is a powerful example of America’s long experience with fielding advanced military technology through an innovative, adaptable, and efficient defense industrial base,” Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition Andrew Hunter stated.