Pentagon Unveils B-21 Raider, A New Stealth Bomber
The B-21 Raider is America's first new bomber aircraft in more than 30 years and almost every aspect of the show has been classified
The United States unveiled the B-21 Raider on Friday, a high-tech stealth bomber capable of carrying nuclear and conventional weapons and designed to fly without a crew.
The slickly choreographed ceremony began with the US national anthem as older bombers roared over a crowd that included top US officials at Northrop Grumman's facility in Palmdale, California.
Dramatic music played and lights flashed as the doors of a hangar holding the new aircraft slowly opened, and the crowd applauded as the cloth covering it was pulled away, revealing a sleek grey bomber costing nearly USD 700 million per plane.
“The B-21 Raider is the first strategic bomber built in over three decades. It exemplifies America's enduring advantages in ingenuity and innovation,” in remarks at the ceremony, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said.
Many details about the aircraft are being kept under wraps, but Austin stated that it will offer significant improvements over existing bombers in the US fleet.
He praised its range, saying that “no other long-range bomber can match its efficiency,” as well as its durability, saying that it is “designed to be the most maintainable bomber ever built.”
The B-21, like the F-22 and F-35, is equipped with stealth technology, which reduces an aircraft's signature through both its shape and the materials used in its construction, making it more difficult for adversaries to detect.
“This aircraft represents fifty years of advances in low-observable technology,” Austin said. “Even the most advanced air defence systems will have difficulty detecting the B-21 in the sky,” he added.
He also said that the plane is built with an “open system architecture,” which allows for the incorporation of “new weapons that haven't even been invented yet.”