The United States Air Force (USAF) continues its strong commitment to the future B-21 Raider bomber, which will replace its current B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit – it will be the B- 52 keep Stratofortress – at a historic time when Russia and China are making strides to bring to light their next generation of stealth bombers.
The USAF has high expectations for this capacity renewal program and for the latest technological advances and years of experience operating various types of platforms characterized by their stealth (phantom) technology. As a result, it is not uncommon for the B-21 to have shapes that are similar in general and configuration to the B-2. Despite its similarity, the design of the future American bomber is much more sophisticated in various aspects, trying to keep the radar signature as small as possible, making it almost impossible to locate its flight, betting that the aircraft will be generally moves medium height and high.
Northrop Grumman is the company leading a development that is found to take approximately $ 80,000 million to produce the estimated number of one hundred devices – some predict it could reach one hundred and seventy – the unit cost of the expected $ 500 million for the 800 passed in just two years. Such expensive specimens to purchase and maintain are the commitment of the USAF leadership, which intends to keep them running for a lifetime of about three decades between 2026 and 2027.
Meanwhile the program continues. A second has been added to the first device that has been built since mid-January. It is also known that Type B-2 platforms are being used to validate some new concepts and that the 420th Flight Test Squadron has been reactivated and its pilots are doing their jobs from the facilities at Edwards Base, California. In a recent picture of this place we were able to identify up to three B-2 spirit cells covered with the typical white plastic so that they can be kept in good condition for long periods of time.
If we focus on the B-21, we know that it has a smaller wingspan than the B-2 and that it is estimated to be around 150 feet to 45 meters. The carrying capacity is also less as it is estimated to be around 30,000 pounds (13,600 kg). Further details relate to the propulsion system formed by Pratt & Whitney turbines, which will be more closely integrated into the center of gravity of the fuselage or into the cabin in which the two crew members will travel, and which has two windows in front of the four B-. 2. With respect to the companies participating in the Northrop Grumman-led project responsible for elements such as radar, Collins Aerospace is known to be the communications equipment supplier. GKN Aerospace and Spirit Aerosystems supply metals and composites, Orbital ATK Janicki Industries supplies tools, and BAE Systems handles most of the electronics.
The first flight is scheduled for late 2021 and presentation or launch in early 2022, although these dates could be delayed by a few months. Commissioning of the B-21 Raider takes place in the facilities of Ellsworth Air Base, which is intended to operate with a large part of them. (Octavio Dec Cmara)
Photo: The shapes of the future raider-bomber are slimmer and more compact than the spirit one calls to success. (Air Force Magazine)
This updated infographic shows the B-21 Raider in one of the hangars that have been set up for future operations at Ellsworth Air Base. (USAF)
The size of the B-21 is smaller than that of the B-2, a detail that can be seen in this picture, where it is also observed that the shape of its wings also varies. (Air Force Magazine)
The B-21’s camouflage will be at its maximum, so its manufacturer has shown this in the hangar where it is made in a picture where only the shadow can be seen. (Northrop Grumman)
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