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    Ellsworth AFB Readies for B-21 Bombers with Massive Expansion and Economic Boost

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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

    Rapid City, South Dakota is currently witnessing a significant expansion at Ellsworth Air Force Base (AFB) as it prepares for the arrival of the new B-21 bombers.

    A groundbreaking ceremony signaled the beginning of construction for a cutting-edge Weapons Generation Facility, a project that offers efficiency, safety, and a boost to the local economy.

    This facility is one of thirteen ongoing projects at the base, all geared towards accommodating the much-anticipated B-21 bombers and their crews.

    Major General John Newberry emphasized the importance of the new Weapons Generation Facility, stating, “The weapons generation facility will upgrade the munitions storage area. First, it’s going to consolidate operations which will be much more efficient. It has the latest safety features and security features so it’s a much more safe, secure, effective facility.”

    Beyond the military advantages, the construction phase is expected to involve over 100 workers, many subcontracted through nearby cities like Rapid City and Box Elder.

    Colonel Derek Oakley highlighted the economic impact, explaining, “These are also the same folks that are doing the construction within Rapid City, Box Elder area as well.”

    Oakley said in 2022 Ellsworth Air Force Base had an economic impact of nearly half a billion dollars in the state of South Dakota and that the base is looking forward to working with community partners to continue this growth over the next decade.

    Ellsworth AFB’s strategic importance has been evident since the days of the B-1B bomber, which has served as a key player in operations such as Odyssey Dawn in 2011.

    Together with the B-1, the 432nd Attack Squadron, which operates the ground control stations based at Ellsworth AFB for the MQ-9 Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), plays a key role in our national defense.

    With the expansion, there is an anticipation of several thousand new airmen making Ellsworth their home, bringing their expertise to the base and contributing to the community.

    This marks a new chapter for Ellsworth AFB, which has been recognized for its support of the military and its role in national defense.

    B-1B Lancer taxis at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam” by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The drive to maintain combat effectiveness in evolving threat environments is reflected in the investments being made at Ellsworth.

    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 base is not only preparing for the arrival of the B-21s but also for the economic and strategic ripple effects this new era of military advancement will bring.

    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)

    “All the infrastructure you see in Ellsworth right now is just getting ready for the B-21s so it can become fully operational when it arrives,” Major General Newberry added.

    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)

    This preparation includes modernizing existing facilities and ensuring a seamless integration of the new aircraft into the base’s operations.

    Relevant articles:
    Ellsworth Air Force Bases hosts Weapons Generation Facility groundbreaking, with focus on expansion and modernization, KEVN
    Ellsworth Air Force Base, senate.gov
    Ellsworth AFB B-21 expansion update, KELOLAND.com
    Major expansion at Ellsworth Air Force Base set to benefit all parties involved, newsbreak.com

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