With its first new bomber in decades, the US Air Force is looking to update its fleet. A revolution is not only the new stealth technology.
It was a long wait. The USA has been working on their new bomber for seven years. Now the B-21 has been officially unveiled. The addition of the name “Raider” is intended to refer historically to its mission vision. But the most important innovation of the first bomber since the Second World War lies in its technical implementation.
The Pentagon announced this at a press conference in Palmdale, California. As tractors slowly pulled the new bomber out of the hangar, this was accompanied by several hours of very proud lectures on the project. In addition to the new stealth technology, the Pentagon emphasized one thing in particular: the B-21 is more future-proof than any other aircraft before it.
Built for the future
“The B-21 looks impressive. But what’s under the hood is even more impressive, as is the space-age plating,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters, military officials, politicians and industry leaders. The combination of capabilities makes the B-21 the first model of the sixth generation of aircraft. Due to its enormous range, the bomber is not only suitable for trouble-free use around the globe. It is also more flexible than any other aircraft before it.
The jet was “carefully designed to be the most serviceable ever built,” enthuses Austin. Its structure and the software basis were deliberately designed to be flexible so that it could be reinvented again and again in other directions and adapted to future needs. “As the US continues to invent, this bomber will be able to defend our country with weapons that haven’t even been invented.” He is already multifunctional: “He can handle everything from espionage operations to battle leadership and integration with our allies and partners.”
Most advanced stealth technology in the world
One of the most important abilities for this is the hitherto unknown ability, according to the USA, to hide from the enemy. “Even the best defense systems will have trouble detecting him in the sky,” Austin said. This is probably not only achieved through a completely new design and a special coating, the drives may also have been specially designed to camouflage their heat development from discovery, the specialist site “DefenseOne” suspects. The reason for the speculation is that not all sides of the plane were shown even at the official unveiling. The drives remained hidden from the view of journalists.
It’s not because the jet isn’t finished. In the past, pre-series models were presented that were only released for the test phase, but this time it’s different. The jet shown is more or less the template for the first series production, the head of aviation at the responsible armaments company Northrop Grumman explained to “Defense News” a few weeks ago. This is part of a new strategy. By simulating the tests in advance, you can minimize the risk of tests and thus save a lot of development time.
Clear strategic plans
How the B-21 could be used in the future is no secret. It allows “our missions to be carried out on the Indo-Pacific stage and all other parts of the world,” said Air Force Chief Purchaser Andrew Hunter, according to Defense One. The emphasis on the Southeast Asian region is clearly aimed at a possible conflict with China.
The nickname “Raider” also refers to a mission in Asia. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the “Doolittle Raiders” carried out the USA’s first surprise attack on the Asian enemy and brought bombers unnoticed to the other side of the Pacific. Descendants of the legendary squad were also invited to the unveiling of the bomber that bears their name. Austin also referred to the Raiders’ “boldness.” “It is fitting that the next chapter in American air power is named after them.”
Quellen: Defense One, Defense News