The US Air Force has unveiled its new B-21 Raider stealth bomber, the Air Force’s first new bomber model in decades. The hi-tech aircraft, which can theoretically fly without a crew, was unveiled on Friday at the Northrop Grumman armaments company’s facilities in Palmdale, California, on a flashy stage.
Thanks to the latest technology for enemy radars, the B-21 is even harder to spot than other stealth bombers. It can fire both nuclear and conventional missiles. The price per aircraft is likely to be just under $700 million (664.26 million euros), with the US Air Force looking to buy at least a hundred machines. According to manufacturer Northrop Grumman, six aircraft are currently in various stages of assembly and testing. The first flight is scheduled for next year.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the new aircraft had a range “unmatched by any other long-range bomber”. It is also one of the longest-lasting bombers ever developed. “Even the most advanced anti-aircraft systems will have trouble detecting the B-21 in the sky,” Austin said. The stealth bomber was also designed so that “new weapons not yet invented” could be installed.
The B-21 is intended to gradually replace previous B-1 and B-2 bombers in the Air Force, which date back to the Cold War era. “The B-21 will be the backbone of our future bomber force,” said Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek. Aircraft has the ability to enter the world’s “most competitive risk areas” and pose a hazard to any destination worldwide.
Raider name, II. In December 1941, months after the Japanese surprise attack on the US base at Pearl Harbor, US bombers led by Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle launched a counterattack on Tokyo. This was the first US attack on mainland Japan and was a symbolically significant success for US forces.