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HomeLatest News'Aliens have arrived': First official photo of US stealth bomber B-21 Raider...

‘Aliens have arrived’: First official photo of US stealth bomber B-21 Raider out. See pics

The US Air Force has unveiled new official photos of the B-21 Raider, offering the first official images of the stealth bomber since its maiden flight last year. The images, showing the aircraft taking off, in flight, and stationed in a hangar at Edwards Air Force Base, provide rare glimpses of the highly secretive bomber.
These new photos, taken in January and early April, reveal the B-21 conducting flight tests, which include ground testing, taxiing, and flying operations.These tests are crucial as the B-21 progresses towards becoming the backbone of the US Air Force bomber fleet. The B-21 Raider is designed to penetrate the most highly contested threat environments globally, with the range, access, and payload to hold any target at risk.
The B-21 Raider has captured public imagination with its otherworldly appearance and capabilities. The images of the bomber in flight have evoked commentary like “aliens have arrived” due to its sleek design and advanced technology. This comparison highlights the advanced nature of the bomber and the significant technological strides made by the US Air Force.
The program is on track to deliver aircraft to Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, in the mid-2020s. Ellsworth will serve as the first B-21 main operating base and the location for the B-21 formal training unit.
Flight testing and development
As per an Air and Space Forces report, the B-21 Raider’s test flight program is “proceeding well,” according to Air Force acquisition executive Andrew Hunter. He emphasized that the flight tests are effectively helping to understand the unique characteristics of the B-21 platform. “It is doing what flight test programs are designed to do, which is helping us learn about the unique characteristics of this platform, but in a very, very effective way,” Hunter told lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 8. He also mentioned that there are “key points still to come this year” in testing.
The exact number of test flights completed by the B-21 remains undisclosed. However, the Air Force has indicated that B-21 test aircraft will be considered “usable assets” once airworthy, with plans to convert them to operational configuration after developmental and operational testing.
The B-21 Raider is a developmental penetrating strike bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions. With a wingspan projected at about 140 feet, the B-21 is smaller than the B-2’s 172-foot wingspan. The Air Force plans to acquire at least 100 B-21s to replace its 45 B-1s and 20 B-2s over the next decade. The B-21 program aims to enhance mission effectiveness and joint interoperability in advanced threat environments, thereby strengthening US deterrence and strategic advantage.

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