Watch: USAF reveals first-ever image of B-21 stealth bomber

  • The US Air Force has unveiled for the first time an artist rendering of B-21 next-generation stealth bomber
  • B-21 will be developed by Northrop Grumman which also developed its predecessor, B-2
  • The aircraft is dubbed as Long Range Strike Bomber because it will be designed to strike from US to any parts of the world

The United States Air Force (USAF) has released the image of what could America’s next-generation stealth bomber look like for the very first time, but its passing resemblance to its predecessor is quite striking to many.

On Friday, February 26, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James unveiled for the first time an artist rendering what is temporarily named B-21 which will succeed the Air Force’s current stealth bomber B-2 originally developed during the Jimmy Carter administration.

Like its predecessor, B-21 is also designed and will be manufactured by Northrop Grumman. According to CNN, the Pentagon has requested $582.7-billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year and a huge chunk of which could probably go to the acquisition of new defense assets.

B-21’s design is sleek – all black with swept-back wings and does not depart too much from B-2’s.

“The B-21 has been designed from the beginning based on a set of requirements that allows the use of existing and mature technology,” James said.

B-21 is not yet its official name and James said the task will be left for the men and women of the Air Force to come up with a proper designation. It’s also referred to as the Long Range Strike Bomber due to its envisioned capability to launch a strike from the US to a target on any part of the planet.

In October last year, Northrop cornered the $55 billion contract for engineering, manufacturing, and development of the aircraft which was then referred to as LRS-B.

Manufacturing cost could be at least $550-million apiece (in 2010 US dollar exchange) while engineering and development alone could add up to $21.4 billion over the program’s entire phase.

Watch Secretary James at the Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida presenting the B-21 for the first time: