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    Introducing The B-21 Raider: The Key To U.S. Air Dominance And Strategic Deterrence

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    Gen. CQ Brown Jr highlighted the B-21 Raider as an example of successful design implementation for the Air Force under “Action Order D” of his goal to Accelerate Change. Image 2 of 2” by U.S. Air Force is licensed under CC CC0 1.0

    The unveiling of Northrop Grumman’s B-21 Raider on December 2, 2021, at Palmdale, California, marked a significant milestone in the evolution of U.S. airpower.

    This event introduced the world to the first sixth-generation aircraft, a cutting-edge bomber designed to solidify America’s air superiority and strategic deterrence for decades to come.

    Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III delivers remarks at the U.S. Air Force B-21 Raider unveiling ceremony, Palmdale, Calif., Dec. 2, 2022. (DoD photos by Chad J. McNeeley)

    The B-21 Raider, representing over three decades of advancements in stealth and strike technology, is poised to redefine the capabilities of the U.S. Air Force.

    Engineered with next-generation stealth capabilities, advanced networking features, and a flexible open systems architecture, the B-21 is tailored for operations in a highly-contested threat environment.

    The B-21 Raider was unveiled to the public at a ceremony December 2, 2022 in Palmdale, Calif. Designed to operate in tomorrow’s high-end threat environment, the B-21 will play a critical role in ensuring America’s enduring airpower capability. (U.S. Air Force photo)

    Northrop Grumman’s commitment to technological advancement means the B-21 is crafted to overcome anti-access and area-denial systems it is likely to encounter.

    The B-21 Raider was unveiled to the public at a ceremony December 2, 2022 in Palmdale, Calif. Designed to operate in tomorrow’s high-end threat environment, the B-21 will play a critical role in ensuring America’s enduring airpower capability. (U.S. Air Force photo)

    Serving as the backbone of the future U.S. airpower, the B-21 combines advanced integration of data, sensors, and weapons to deliver both conventional and nuclear payloads.

    This integration grants it an unmatched operational flexibility, enabling the use of a wide range of munitions from stand-off weapons to direct attack options.

    These features ensure that the B-21 will remain one of the sky’s most formidable aircraft.

    One of the defining characteristics of the B-21 is its status as a digital bomber. Employing agile software development and advanced manufacturing techniques, Northrop Grumman leverages digital engineering tools to reduce production risk and support modern sustainment practices.

    This approach also includes the successful migration of B-21 ground systems data to a cloud environment, paving the way for a more maintainable aircraft with lower-cost infrastructure.

    Blue skies, Shaman! RIP ‘Raider 21’ crew!” by AV8PIX Christopher Ebdon is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    Rapid upgradeability is inherent in the design of the B-21. Unlike previous generation aircraft, the B-21 will not rely on block upgrades.

    Instead, new technologies, capabilities, and weapons will be seamlessly integrated through agile software updates and inherent hardware flexibility, ensuring continuous adaptation to evolving threats.

    The Raider’s development has been a national collaborative effort. Since Northrop Grumman was awarded the contract in 2015, a nationwide team including over 8,000 people from industry partners and the Air Force has been assembled. This team includes more than 400 suppliers across 40 states, underlining the strategic importance and vast scope of the B-21 program.

    The B-21’s global reach and precision strike capabilities make it a critical element in the United States’ strategic deterrence strategy.

    Designed as the leading component of a larger family of systems, it will provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, electronic attack, and multi-domain networking capabilities. In doing so, the B-21 will offer the flexibility and deterrence that is vital to the security of the U.S. and its allies.

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