Exact date of B-21 stealth bomber reveal announced
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Rapid City, Ellsworth Air Force Base, and the world will get their first look at the B-21 Raider stealth bomber on December 2, 2022.
Northrop Grumman confirmed the exact date of the reveal on Thursday. This comes after an announcement last month that the bomber would be revealed at some time in December.
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 B-21 Raider bomber will play a crucial role in the defense of our nation and have a major impact on the Rapid City area for the next 50 years,” said South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds. “I was pleased to see the progress on the B-21 when I visited the production facility in July. Soon the public will see this stealth bomber. I am looking forward to the public unveiling during the first week of December in Palmdale, California.”
Rounds is a member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, which has shepherded the development of the next-generation bomber.
“The B-21 is the most advanced military aircraft ever built and is a product of pioneering innovation and technological excellence,” said Doug Young, sector vice president and general manager, Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems.
According to the company, there are six B-21 test aircraft in various stages of final assembly at the Palmdale facility.
The Air Force says it anticipates that the first flight will happen in 2023, but the exact timing of that flight will depend on the successful completion of ground testing.
“The B-21 program is a powerful example of America’s long experience with fielding advanced military technology through an innovative, adaptable and efficient defense industrial base,” said Andrew Hunter, assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. “The Air Force made the decision early in the life of the program to make the flight test aircraft production representative, which is paying dividends as we look towards first flight.”
In the meantime, work continues to prepare Ellsworth AFB for the arrival of the new aircraft while simultaneously supporting the ongoing missions of the two squadrons of B-1Bs.