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Pentagon will unveil the new B-21 Raider stealth bomber in the first week of December

The US Air Force will unveil its next-generation stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider, during the first week of December, lifting the tight cloak of secrecy that has surrounded the aircraft’s development.

Northrop Grumman and the Air Force confirmed Tuesday’s timeline for the unveiling of the B-21, saying it will offer an “exclusive view” of the aircraft at the company’s facility in Palmdale, California.

The bomber, which will be nuclear-powered, will cost about $639 million per plane, and the Pentagon plans to buy at least 100 of them to supplement and eventually replace the aging B-2 Spirit.

“The B-21 is the most advanced military aircraft ever built and is the product of cutting-edge innovation and technological excellence,” Northrop Grumman CEO Doug Young said in a statement.

The U.S. Air Force said Tuesday it will unveil its next-generation stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider, during the first week of December.  The design can be seen in a rendering above

The U.S. Air Force said Tuesday it will unveil its next-generation stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider, during the first week of December. The design can be seen in a rendering above

Six B-21 test aircraft are in various stages of final assembly at Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale factory, with the first test flight expected in 2023.

The exact date for the unveiling in early December has yet to be determined, and officials say the event will be invitation-only.

Last July, the Air Force released the latest photorealistic concept image of the B-21, which is the latest rendering of the aircraft.

Unlike previous concepts of the bomber, which were released in 2020, this image has a more defined beak at the front and a slanted window for the main cockpit windows.

The larger B-2 has four windows that go around the front of the cockpit.

The photo also shows the bomber taking off from Edwards Air Force Base in California, where it is expected to be tested in the coming years.

The classified aircraft is still under development by the military and is part of the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) program.

1663711826 736 Pentagon will unveil the new B 21 Raider stealth bomber in

1663711826 736 Pentagon will unveil the new B 21 Raider stealth bomber in

Previously released promotional images from 2020 show renderings of how the B-21 Raider would appear in hangars at various US bases – here at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota

1663711826 694 Pentagon will unveil the new B 21 Raider stealth bomber in

1663711826 694 Pentagon will unveil the new B 21 Raider stealth bomber in

Previously released promotional images from 2020 show renderings of how the B-21 Raider would appear in hangars at various US bases – here at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri

It is expected to be operational by 2026 or 2027 and will complement the B-2 Spirit, as well as the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bomber fleets before eventually replacing them both.

“Nuclear modernization is a top priority for the Department of Defense and the Air Force, and the B-21 is key to that plan,” said Randall Walden, Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office director, in a announcement.

The B-21 is expected to undergo testing at Edwards Air Force Base in California

The B-21 is expected to undergo testing at Edwards Air Force Base in California

The B-21 is expected to undergo testing at Edwards Air Force Base in California

‘The built-in open systems architecture feature of the B-21 makes the bomber effective as the threat environment evolves. This approach to aircraft design puts the nation on the right path to ensure America’s sustainable air power capability.’

All the officially released images so far are artist renderings – no official images of the top secret jet have yet been released.

The first official rendering of the B-21 Raider was released in 2016, but only showed its basic form.

Renderings released in 2020 showed how the B-21 Raider would appear in hangars at various US bases, but again were light on details.

The latest image shows more details of the cockpit design and nose section. It also gave no sign of the prominent air intakes seen in previous renderings, which had reportedly been a point of contention during the design phase.

The Raider is named after the Doolittle Raiders – US Army Air Force men who carried out a famous surprise attack on Japan on April 18, 1942 during World War II.

The B-21 Raider will be capable of carrying nuclear bombs, but will also be able to ‘use a broad mix of stand-off and direct attack munitions,’ according to the latest Air Force fact sheet.

The first official piece of concept art of the B-21 Raider was released in 2016, but only showed its basic form in a very rough rendering

The first official piece of concept art of the B-21 Raider was released in 2016, but only showed its basic form in a very rough rendering

The first official piece of concept art of the B-21 Raider was released in 2016, but only showed its basic form in a very rough rendering

The B-21 Raider will join the B-2 Spirit (pictured) as part of the US Air Force fleet before eventually replacing it

The B-21 Raider will join the B-2 Spirit (pictured) as part of the US Air Force fleet before eventually replacing it

The B-21 Raider will join the B-2 Spirit (pictured) as part of the US Air Force fleet before eventually replacing it

According to the US Air Force’s latest fact sheetB-21 costs average $639 million in FY19 dollars.

Richard Aboulafia, vice president and analyst at Teal Group, told Military.com that ‘there has always been some doubt about [the final cost of the planes],’ adds these figures are only for the purchase price and not accessory items.

The B-21 Raider force will be located at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri and Dyess Air Force Base in Texas, according to the fact sheet.

It will have a crew of two people, but also be capable of unmanned operation, according to Popular Mechanics.

The Air Force will buy at least 100 of the B-21 Raiders to replace the aging fleet of B-2s and B-1s, but some officials expect the fleet to eventually consist of 220 bombers — 75 B-52s and 145 B-21s .

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE B-21 STEALTH BOMBER?

The US Air Force plans to introduce the aircraft in the mid-2020s.

-The all-black aircraft has a distinctive zig-zag shape and a low profile designed to make it difficult to spot on radar.

– The bomber was previously known as the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B).

– The latest name, B-21, recognizes the aircraft as the military’s first bomber of the 21st century.

– It is designed to be launched from the continental United States and conduct airstrikes anywhere in the world.

– Although the specific characteristics of the new aircraft are highly secret, it is likely to be equipped with high-tech communication equipment.

– It will replace the Air Force B-52 bomber, which has been flying for more than half a century

– It will eventually replace the B-1 bombers when they retire sometime in the 2040s.