B-21 program receives advance funds to support production
WASHINGTON — The Air Force has awarded $108 million to aerospace and defense company, Northrop Grumman for advance procurement to support the B-21 Raider program.
Advance procurement funds will directly support the acquisition of items necessary to build the first lot of production for the B-21 aircraft.
Progress for the B-21 program continues with the Defense Appropriations Act providing funding for five new military construction projects for the B-21 mission at Ellsworth Air Force Base. Ellsworth will be the B-21’s first main operating base, and construction of a low observable maintenance hangar is underway.
“The B-21 Raider program is foundational to the Air Force’s operational imperative for an effective, long-range strike family of systems to guarantee our ability to strike any target, anytime, anywhere, even in the most contested environment,” said Air Force Chief of Staff General CQ Brown, Jr. “As the Air Force celebrates its 75th anniversary, the Raider is a standout example of the innovation and pursuit of game-changing technology that has characterized our service since its inception. The quality of the aircraft build, coupled with its open systems architecture design and built-in margin for future growth, will provide our warfighters the competitive advantage we’ll need to deter current and future conflicts, and fight and win if called upon to do so.”
Progress continues across all elements of the B-21 program with the B-21 test aircraft being manufactured under the Engineering and Manufacturing Development contract with Northrop Grumman.
The first B-21 flight test aircraft recently entered loads calibration to undergo verification and validation testing of its structural design prior to flight. After theses calibrations, further integration and ground testing will then inform the program schedule and flight readiness.
“The B-21 test aircraft are the most production-representative aircraft, both structurally and in its mission systems, at this point in a program, that I’ve observed in my career. The right decisions are being made on this program to pave the way for a high-fidelity flight test campaign and an effective transition to production,” said Department of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office Director Randall Walden.
An environmental impact statement is set to begin this year to inform final decisions on the second and third main operating bases to bed-down the full B-21 fleet, with second and third main operating bases for the B-21 preferred to be Whiteman AFB in Missouri and Dyess AFB in Texas.