The B-21 Raider, America’s newest nuclear stealth bomber developed by Northrop Grumman Corp., made its first public flight in Palmdale, California. This event marks a significant step in the aircraft’s flight testing program, managed by Edwards Air Force Base. The B-21, designed to replace aging B-1 and B-2 fleets, showcases advancements in stealth technology and is part of the U.S. military’s effort to modernize its nuclear triad.
- First Public Flight: The B-21 Raider completed its first flight, a milestone in its development and a rare public appearance for the highly classified bomber.
- Advanced Stealth Capabilities: The B-21 features improved stealth technology compared to its predecessor, the B-2, and is designed for both crewed and uncrewed missions.
- Flight Testing Program: The U.S. Air Force is conducting comprehensive flight testing of the B-21, including ground and taxiing tests, under the supervision of Edwards Air Force Base.
- Fleet Replacement and Procurement Plans: The Air Force intends to purchase at least 100 B-21 bombers by the mid-2030s at an estimated cost of $80 billion, aiming to replace the aging B-1 and B-2 bomber fleets.
- Impact on Aerospace Employment: The B-21 program has significantly increased aerospace employment in the Antelope Valley, where Northrop Grumman’s facilities are located.