The Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider strategic stealth bomber will be rolled out in December 2022, the US Air Force and Northrop Grumman have confirmed.
The unveiling ceremony will take place at Northrop Grumman’s production facility in Palmdale, California.
“The unveiling of the B-21 Raider will be a historic moment for our Air Force and the nation,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. is quoted as saying in a USAF press release.
More than 30 years have passed since the US introduced a new bomber into its fleet, the press release said. The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit was revealed to the public in 1988, and no new bombers have been adopted by the USAF since then.
On September 21, 2022, Northrop Grumman posted a teaser of the B-21 to its Twitter feed, which shows the outline of an aircraft covered by a white cloth, alongside the date “12.2022”.
— Northrop Grumman (@northropgrumman) September 20, 2022
A Northrop Grumman press release clarified that the reveal will take place “in the first week of December”.
The release also confirmed that the aircraft’s first flight is currently planned for 2023, and that six B-21s currently exist at various stages of assembly. In early 2022 the USAF announced that the sixth B-21 had entered assembly. The maiden flight was delayed again shortly afterwards, having already been postponed once before from late-2022.
The aircraft entered development in 2014 and is slated to replace the aging B-2 Spirits and B-1 Landers in service.
A flying wing design with a high degree of stealth, the B-21 will be optionally manned, and is intended to employ manned-unmanned teaming to a high degree, operating alongside various drones and other systems.