Strategic bombers are some of the most fearsome military aircraft to exist. Their role of bombing targets of high importance in enemy territories is very crucial in war. The United States Air Force gives high priority to advanced bombers projects, considering these aircraft can project their power worldwide. Now, the USAF is expecting a new strategic bomber, the B-21 Raider. Northrop Grumman will produce the aircraft, which will be operational in the next couple of years.

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What We Know So Far About B-21

The characteristics that determine how powerful a strategic bomber are range, payload, and survivability. According to Northrop Grumman, the Raider can cover the requirements of all of these three aspects for many years to come. The B-21 Raider strategic bomber wants to continue the legacy of the American company when it comes to designing, developing, and producing top-class bombers and aircraft in general.

So, the US Air Force's plans include at least 100 B-21 Raiders. Now, at least six stealth bombers are in production and the USAF expects to fly at least one of them in 2022. The location of the production line is at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California. As we stated earlier, the Raider bombers will probably start serving the Air Force in the mid-2020s.

Northrop Grumman's officials state very confidently about the advancement of their aircraft. They stated that their digital tools have helped in risk reduction in engineering and manufacturing development (EMD). The company reassured that the B-21 will project the power of the American Armed Forces and will be able to secure high-importance flash points across the globe.

The USAF and Congress believe that the program is critical for the security of the United States. In recent years, the dominance of the USAF has encountered many threats. China is rapidly expanding its aerial fleet and developing numerous new weapons. So, the B-21 Raider is one of the most anticipating responses of the USA.

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Which Aircraft Will It Replace?

The USAF fleet of bombers consists of aging aircraft. The B-21 Raider will replace the iconic and successful B-2 Spirit stealth strategic bomber. The Raider is very similar to the legendary B-2 Spirit and will evolve even more in its capabilities.

The B-2 Spirit aircraft is the only stealth strategic bomber in the world. For most people, the Spirit is the most advanced bomber that has ever flown. However, it made its introduction in 1997; that's why the USAF wants something newer that can dominate for decades to comes.

Last but not least, we should mention that the US built only 21 B-2 Spirits, mainly due to their high costs. The stealth bomber is the most expensive aircraft in history, with a price per unit of almost $2 billion.

B-21 stealth bomber parked in hangar
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