The U.S. Air Force and Northrop Grumman have released new artists’ renderings of the B-21 Raider bomber.
The images depict the new bomber at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Whiteman AFB, Mo., and Dyess AFB, Texas.
In 2019, the Air Force announced that Ellsworth would be the B-21’s first operational base, and will host the bomber’s first formal training unit. Whiteman and Dyess will receive Raiders as they become available.
Currently, Whiteman is home to the B-2 Spirit bomber, while Ellsworth and Dyess are home to the B-1B Lancer.
Air Force officials have said that first deliveries of the aircraft should begin in the mid-2020s; but have been cagey in releasing too many other details in order to protect the technology being used and developed.
We do know, however that the B-21 Raider will be manufactured and built at the Northrop Grumman facility in Palmdale, Calif., and will undergo initial testing at Edwards Air Force Base, under the auspices of the recently reactivated 420th Flight Test Squadron.
The squadron was reactivated Oct. 4, 2019 and will plan, test, analyze and report on all flight and ground testing of the Raider.
The B-21 will be a highly survivable, next-generation bomber with the ability to penetrate modern air defenses and hold any target at risk globally. The program has a mature and stable design and is transitioning to manufacturing development of the first test aircraft in Palmdale, California.
“The first flight of the Raider will take it from Palmdale to Edwards AFB, where the legacy of excellence will continue with the reactivation of the 420th Flight Test Squadron,” said then-Acting Secretary of the Air Force Matthew Donovan, during the Air Force Association Conference Sept. 16, 2019.