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    Home未分类B-21 Raider: A Stealthy Leap Forward in U.S. Air Power

    B-21 Raider: A Stealthy Leap Forward in U.S. Air Power

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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 B-21 Raider, the United States Air Force’s cutting-edge stealth bomber, has recently achieved significant milestones in its flight testing program at Edwards Air Force Base, California, affirming its performance and edging closer to operational readiness.

    With its advanced stealth capabilities, the Raider is poised to become an integral asset in U.S. strategic deterrence, replacing legacy bombers and enhancing the nation’s long-range strike potential.

    In a recent announcement, Northrop Grumman reported that the B-21 is performing as anticipated, with test pilots confirming that the aircraft’s handling closely aligns with digital simulations.

    This precision underscores the reliability of the digital design environment integral to the bomber’s development. Andrew Hunter, the U.S. Air Force Acquisition and Technology Assistant Secretary, expressed satisfaction with the program’s progress, stating, “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.”

    Unveiled in December 2022, the B-21 Raider is designed as a ‘dual-capable’ bomber, adept at delivering both conventional and nuclear payloads.

    This versatility, combined with the aircraft’s stealth features that minimize its radar signature, allows the B-21 to evade advanced enemy radar systems and air defenses effectively.

    After the successful initial flight tests, the Pentagon has given the nod for the B-21 program to commence production. The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition & Sustainment, William LaPlante, confirmed, “Production of the B-21 ‘Raider’ stealth bomber is moving forward.

    This past fall, based on the results of ground and flight tests and the team’s mature plans for manufacturing, I gave the go-ahead to begin producing B-21s at a low rate.” The production authorization follows the aircraft’s first flight in November, a key milestone that paved the way for the production contract.

    Northrop Grumman has echoed the confidence in the B-21’s progress, with a statement from the company highlighting the aircraft’s readiness for production after meeting all flight performance and data requirements.

    The B-21 is described as “the world’s first sixth-generation aircraft,” offering unprecedented capability and flexibility through advanced integration of data, sensors, and weapons. It is also designed to be rapidly upgradable to counter evolving threats.

    The significance of the B-21 Raider extends beyond its operational capabilities. It represents a leap in military aviation technology, with features like long-range mission capability without refueling, payload flexibility, and state-of-the-art avionics. These systems not only improve the bomber’s survivability in contested environments but also enhance communication and situational awareness.

    Furthermore, the B-21’s design incorporates an open architecture, allowing the seamless integration of future technologies and upgrades. This adaptability ensures that the B-21 Raider will maintain its cutting-edge status well into the future.

    As the B-21 continues its testing campaign, it is expected to play a major role in U.S. air power by 2027, incrementally replacing the B-1 and B-2 bombers in the Air Force inventory. With at least 100 aircraft planned for production, the Raider is on course to fortify the United States’ national security objectives significantly.

    Despite the excitement surrounding the aircraft, the Pentagon maintains a level of secrecy, possibly due to concerns about revealing details that adversaries could exploit. The approach is to manage the B-21’s progress with discretion while focusing on the aircraft’s rapid advancement and integration into the strategic bomber fleet.

    The B-21 Raider’s journey from concept to near-operation has been characterized by meticulous testing and digital precision, marking a new era for military aviation and strategic deterrence. As it edges towards full-rate production, the B-21 stands as a testament to the sophistication and future readiness of U.S. air power.

    Relevant articles:
    Northrop Achieves New Milestone for Futuristic B-21 Stealth Bomber, The Defense Post
    21 Raider stealth bomber in production, Pentagon says, breakingdefense.com
    Breaking News: US Northrop Grumman’s B-21 Raider Stealth Bomber Achiev, Army Recognition
    With First Flight Achieved, Northrop Grumman Gets B-21 Production Contract, Air & Space Forces Magazine

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