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US unveils $700 million next-generation B-21 nuclear bomber | Military News

 


The US Air Force plans to buy at least 100 B-21 Raider stealth bombers, which cost $700 million per plane.

The United States has unveiled its latest high-tech strategic bomber, the B-21 Raider, capable of carrying a nuclear payload and able to fly without a crew on board.

The next-generation stealth bomber was rolled out at weapons maker Northrop Grummans’ facilities in California in a flashy ceremony attended by senior US officials on Friday.

The US Air Force plans to buy at least 100 of the B-21 jets, which come with a price tag of $700 million per plane, a Northrop Grumman spokesman said.

The unveiling of the new bombers comes at a time of heightened geopolitical tensions between the United States, Russia and China amid the war in Ukraine and the territorial integrity of Taiwan.

Russian and Chinese strategic bombers conducted an eight-hour joint patrol over the Western Pacific on Wednesday as part of a demonstration of the ongoing military cooperation between the two nations.

China’s Defense Ministry called the mission a routine effort to strengthen defense ties with Russia.

Moscow and Beijing are also developing strategic stealth bombers, the Chinese Xian H-20 and the Russian nuclear-capable Tupolev PAK DA, which are expected to compete with the B-21.

While the B-21 is capable of unmanned flight, the US Air Force said the aircraft is planned for this capability, but there has been no decision to fly unmanned.

The B-21 Raider is the premier strategic bomber in more than three decades, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement prepared at Friday’s event.

Austin touted the aircraft range and superior design.

No other long-range bomber can match its effectiveness, Austin said.

Unveiled today, the B-21 Raider will be a dual-capability penetrating stealth bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions. The B-21 will form the backbone of the Air Force’s future bomber force of B-21s and B-52s. (Photo by US Air Force) pic.twitter.com/X6KSU7sy6U

US Air Force (@usairforce) December 3, 2022

Fifty years of advances in low-observability technology have gone into this aircraft, he said.

Even the most sophisticated air defense systems will struggle to detect the B-21 in the sky.

The B-21, which sports a similar flying wing shape to its predecessor, will be capable of carrying conventional and nuclear weapons around the world using aerial and long-range refueling capabilities.

Northrop Grumman hailed the new aircraft as the backbone of our future bomber force.

The aerospace and design company said the first flight of the long-range bombers is expected to take place in 2023. Six of the long-range bombers are in various stages of assembly and testing at its California facility.

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