The US Air Force is about to unveil its secret stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider, a $639 million nuclear jet that can sneak past Russian and Chinese sensors.
The advanced bomber will be unveiled Friday at 4:30 p.m. PT in Palmdale, California, north of Los Angeles, and will enable the Air Force to “penetrate the toughest defenses for precision strikes anywhere in the world.”
Built by aerospace and defense company Northrop Grumman, the B-21 Raider will be ‘invisible’ to enemy radar, be able to use artificial intelligence to connect with Allied forces, have a ‘digital bomb bay’ and eventually include an option to be completely remote.
The B-21, which will cost $639 million per plane, is the first new American bomber in more than thirty years and will gradually replace the B-1 and B-2 planes that first flew during the Cold War.
Six bombers are currently under construction at Palmdale and are expected to fly in 2023.
The U.S. Air Force will finally unveil its secret B-21 stealth bomber plane Friday in Palmdale, California, which is touted as virtually “invisible” to all enemy stealth radars and will include the latest military technology features
The B-21 Raider will replace the $2 billion B-2 Spirit per aircraft – and has a smaller wingspan and a $639 million price tag. Unlike its predecessor, the B-21 can perform unmanned bomber and surveillance missions anywhere in the world
The Air Force and Northrop began developing the bomber in 2015 after the company won the contract to design and manufacture the aircraft.
The B-21 will be the backbone of the Air Force’s future and will be nuclear capable, capable of being used for long-range strikes, surveillance and reconnaissance, and electronic strikes.
The B-21s will replace the B-52 aircraft, which are already 60 years old, and the approximately 45 B-1 and 21 B-2 bombers.
The Air Force plans to purchase at least 100 of the new stealth bombers.
THE LATEST FEATURES OF THE B-21 FOR MODERN WARFIGHTING
The B-21s feature groundbreaking stealth technology based on more than three decades and six generations of American bomber innovation.
Northrop boasts that the new aircraft will incorporate advanced materials that will significantly reduce infrared, acoustic, electromagnetic, visual and radar signatures, making it virtually undetectable.
The bomber’s stealth technology is expected to counter even the latest Russian and Chinese surface-to-air missiles, something “90 percent of the country’s current bomber fleet cannot do,” the company said.
The B-21 will also feature a digital bomb bay, allowing the aircraft to integrate new weapons faster than ever before. It allows the bomber to be easily and affordably upgraded.
The new system gives the aircraft the ability to be nuclear-powered and carry an estimated payload of 30,000 pounds of firepower.
In addition, the B-21 will come with AI-powered sensors, which Northrop said can identify enemy targets and share information with allies for coordinated strikes in record time.
The system will be able to share data with the Army, Navy, Air Force and Space Force.
“The B-21 provides utility to meet our nation’s security objective in every conceivable scenario,” retired Air Force Lieutenant General David Deptula told the United States. Wall Street Journal. “No other weapon system can do that.”
“The B-21 is America’s Chinese deterrent bomber,” said Mark Gunzinger, a retired bomber pilot who flew the B-52.
Developers Northrop Grumman said the plane will also use AI-powered sensors to share data in record time with all branches of the military for coordinated strikes
A COMPLETELY REMOTE STEALTH BOMBERGER
Unlike its predecessor, the B-2 Spirit, the B-21 Raider is expected to enable unmanned missions.
While current plans for the Raider include a crew of two, the Air Force has said future aircraft should be fully remote capable.
Northrop representatives called the B-21 “pioneering” and “technological excellence.”
“The B-21 is the most advanced military aircraft ever built and is a product of breakthrough innovation and technological excellence,” said Northrop Sector Vice President and General Manager Dough Young.
A teaser for the unveiling of the B-21 Raider released by aerospace and technology contractor Northrop Grumman
HOW DOES IT COMPETE WITH RUSSIA AND CHINA?
The stealth aspect of the B-21 Raider is touted as its main asset against Russian and Chinese forces.
Like its predecessor, the B-21 is expected to be a subsonic aircraft, meaning it will fly slower than 768 mph.
That puts it at a notable disadvantage against China’s J-20 stealth fighter, which flies at more than 1,300 mph and is capable of carrying 24,000 pounds of cargo.
The B-21 will also be slower than the Russian SU-57, which can reach a top speed of 1,330 mph and was reportedly first used operationally in November when officials claimed it downed a Ukrainian airliner.
Despite its slow speed, Northup claims the B-21 will be one of the most undetectable aircraft in the sky, able to hide from another country’s radar system.
Russia is currently touting the most capable surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, capable of shooting down stealth aircraft from 400 kilometers away.
China is currently using the HQ-17 SAM system, which can track 24 different targets and shoot down two at once from nine miles away.
While there are rumors that China has developed a new radar capable of detecting all stealth aircraft, these have been dismissed by military experts.
The Department of Defense has said a new generation of stealth bombers is needed for US national security duty, including deterring conflict in the South China Sea.
The Air Force plans to purchase at least 100 of the B-21 Raider. Pictured: A rendering of a jet aircraft released by the United States Air Force