Brand New B-21 Bomber Will Only Fly with the Immortal B-52
The B-21 Raider stealth bomber is earmarked to replace the aging B-1 supersonic swing-wing bomber and the B-2 stealth bomber.
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is getting ready to roll out its brand new stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider, which is earmarked to replace the aging B-1 supersonic swing-wing bomber and the B-2 stealth bomber.
Remarkably, this would mean the cutting-edge B-21 would team up with the ancient B-52 bomber as the only two bombers left in the U.S. arsenal. Here are the details:
On 6 July the U.S. Air Force released what is only the third official rendering of its future B-21 Raider stealth bomber, which is expected to fly by May next year.
This new image shows a previously unseen and extremely curious cockpit windscreen configuration.
The B-21 is intended to replace the aging B-2 bomber, with which it shares its overall design concept.
It will also replace the older B-1 supersonic swing-wing bomber. The idea is that the new B-21 will form a two-plane bomber force with the much older B-52 bomber, which first flew in 1952, making the B-52 one of the most enduring airplane designs, ever.
The new B-21 will be nuclear capable and designed to accommodate manned or unmanned operations.
The Air Force says a minimum of one hundred B-21s will be built at an average unit procurement cost of $550 million in 2010 dollars, or $673 million in today's dollars.
The bomber is being designed with an open-systems architecture to reduce integration risk and enable competition for future modernization efforts to adapt to changing threats.
The Drive website says the new renderings of the B-21 look a lot like the original high-altitude Advanced Technology Bomber design from the 1980s that preceded the final B-2 configuration.
The website says it looks like the B-21's "back to the future" design will likely restore the high-altitude ambitions lost in the compromises of the B-2 program.
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