The United States Air Force released two new images of the B-21 Raider on Tuesday at the 2023 Air and Space Forces Warfare Symposium in Aurora, Colorado.
General Thomas A. Bussier, commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command, spoke at the symposium, highlighting what it takes to defeat the threats facing the US
One such aspect was a bomber fleet that included the B-21 Raider, which is described as a bomber that can adapt to future threats and has both nuclear and conventional capabilities.
Bussier called the B-21 the “future backbone of the bomber fleet,” adding that the military arm will have a minimum of 100 Raiders.
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The U.S. Air Force released a new image of the B-21 Raider on Tuesday at the 2023 Air and Space Forces Warfare Symposium in Aurora, Colorado. (US Air Force)
In the long-term plan, the Air Force plans to purchase 220 or more bombers.
The B-21 is “on track to deliver operational aircraft to its first main base by the mid-2020s,” the general said.
The cockpit of the B-21 Raider (US Air Force)
The U.S. Air Force said in a press release that the aircraft is designed with an open architecture that allows rapid insertion of mature technologies. It is also designed for support, maintainability and durability.
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“The technologies that are integrated and the open architecture system will provide every possible opportunity to advance, modernize and keep that weapon system at the forefront of a threat in the future,” Bussier said.
The B-21 Raider is the first new American bomber aircraft in more than three decades and almost every aspect of the program has been classified.
When the bomber was first unveiled in December, manufacturer Northrop Grumman said the rollout of the latest nuclear stealth bomber was the first time the world’s first sixth-generation aircraft would be seen by the public.
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“When delivered to the Air Force, the B-21 will join the country’s strategic triad as a visible and flexible deterrent; it supports national security objectives and reassures the country’s allies and partners,” the company said. in a press release.
The nuclear triad includes silo-launched nuclear ballistic missiles and submarine-launched warheads.
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The cost of the bombers is still unknown — though it’s expected to be about $550 million each in 2010 dollars, or about $750 million in today’s dollars adjusted for inflation — and the Raider won’t make its maiden flight until next year.