The US Air Force released two new images of the B-21 Raider on Thursday during the 2023 Air and Space Warfare Symposium in Aurora, Colorado.
At the seminar, Air Force Global Strike Command Commander General Thomas A. Bussier discussed the measures that must be taken to protect the United States from the threats that have been identified.
One such feature was a bomber fleet that included the B-21 Raider, which was touted as a bomber with both nuclear and conventional capabilities that could adapt to future threats.
The B-21 is the “future backbone of the bomber fleet,” according to Bussier, who said that the military branch would have at least 100 Raiders.
Long-term, the Air Force intends to buy 220 or more bombers. The B-21 is “on pace to deploy operational aircraft to its first primary operating base by the middle of the 2020s,” according to the general.
In a press release, the US Air Force stated that the aircraft was designed with an open architecture that allows for the rapid insertion of mature technologies. It has also been designed to offer support, maintenance, and sustainability.
“The integrated technologies and the open architecture system will provide any potential capability to advance, modernize, and keep that weapons system ahead of a threat in the future,” Bussier said.
The B-21 Raider is the first new American bomber aircraft in over three decades, and almost every detail of the program is classified.
Northrop Grumman, the bomber’s maker, claimed at its December unveiling that the public would get its first look at the world’s first sixth-generation aircraft when the new stealthy nuclear bomber was deployed.
“When delivered to the Air Force, the B-21 will join the nation’s strategic triad as a visible and flexible deterrent, supporting national security objectives and assuring the nation’s allies and partners,” the company stated. It’s a statement.
Nuclear ballistic missiles launched from underground silos and nuclear submarines are two legs of the nuclear triad.
It is unclear how much the bombers will cost, while in 2010, estimates put their value at roughly $550 million each, or about $750 million when adjusted for inflation. The first flight of the Raider is not scheduled until next year.