The long-awaited B-21 stealth bomber unveiled in Palmdale California

PALMDALE, C.A. – After years of development, the B-21 “Raider” stealth bomber, a next-generation aircraft designed to replace the Air Force’s rapidly aging B-1 and B-2 bombers, is finally being revealed to the public on Friday. KNBN is reporting live from Palmdale, California, where the unveiling is taking place:

Ellsworth Air Force Base’s 28th Bomb Wing will house both the training squadron and the first operational squadron.

“The unveiling of the B-21 Raider will be a historic moment for our Air Force and the nation,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. C.Q. Brown, Jr. “We must continue to rapidly modernize. The B-21 Raider will provide formidable combat capability across a range of operations in highly contested environments of the future.”

The unveiling of the new B-21 bomber rings with it a variety of new developments for the Rapid City area, and the Ellsworth Air Force Base that will be housing two squadrons of the new plane. Mayor Steve Allender of Rapid City described it as “an early holiday gift for the people of Rapid City, Box Elder, and the Black Hills region.”

The project promises to bring major economic development to the area, increasing the impact of the already significant military base.

“Over the next decade or so, 1,600 additional jobs on the base, about 4,000 people into the community – that’s just the growth, just the increase. The construction alone well over $1 billion. The current economic impact from the base today is about $480 million a year,” said Scott Landguth, Executive Director of the South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority.

The plane is the culmination of over a decade of work and planning by the United States Air Force and Northrop Grumman. Below is a timeline of the events, tracing its development from when the first plans to design the newest generation of bombers began: