“The U.S. Air Force unveiled the B-21 Raider bomber on December 2—the first new bomber to join the service since 1988. The bat-winged bomber is smaller but more capable than its predecessor, the B-2 Spirit, and the first aircraft will enter service later this decade. The B-21 will replace older platforms and eventually become the mainstay of the U.S. bomber fleet.
The first B-21 Raider was unveiled at Plant 42, the U.S. Air Force’s advanced aircraft research and development facility in Palmdale, California. The B-21 is built by defense contractor Northrop Grumman, which also built its predecessor, the B-2 Spirit. The two aircraft are similar in appearance, with large bat-like wings, a lack of a tail section, a smooth, featureless exterior, and a small, darkened cockpit in the nose.
Kathy Warden, CEO and president of Northrop Grumman, calls the B-21 “a bomber like no other.””