The world’s only sixth-generation bomber, the American B-21 Raider, made its first flight, Reuters reports, citing photos taken by witnesses. The B-21 is the first new model of an American bomber in over 30 years. The US military has not officially announced its first flight yet.
The Reuters agency, citing witnesses, reported on Friday evening that on the same day at dawn the B-21 Raider left the facilities of its manufacturer Northrop Grumman at the US Air Force base in Palmdale, California. In the first rays of sunlight, the world’s first sixth-generation strategic bomber took to the air and made its first test flight.
The US army did not officially announce the first flight of the new bomber, but the futuristic B-21 was recorded in the air by witnesses. A Reuters source said that despite the lack of official information, several dozen aviation enthusiasts and amateur photographers gathered near the Plant 42 aviation plant.
The most modern bomber in the world
The U.S. Air Force first unveiled the B-21 Raider in December 2022. This aircraft, considered the most modern bomber in the world, is to constitute the new core of the US air force’s bomber forces. Reuters recalled that the B-21, which has the same “flying wing” shape as its predecessor, the B-2, will be able to carry both conventional and nuclear weapons anywhere in the world, using the possibility of air refueling.
– The B-21 changes everything (…) with this aircraft we provide a new generation of stealth technology (limiting the possibility of detection by radars – ed.) designed for the US Air Force to meet their most complex missions. The world has never seen technology like the B-21, Northrop Executive Director Kathy Warden said in December.
Sixth generation bomber
The B-21 Raider is presented as the world’s first sixth-generation bomber – no other country is even close to developing its own machine of this type. The manufacturer assures that special emphasis was placed on the stealth parameter, i.e. maximum reduction of the detection of a flying aircraft, among others. by radars.
Due to the secrecy of the program, no detailed information about the new materials and solutions used is provided, but the Americans claim that the progress achieved is very significant. – If we talk about detection (B-21), it is incredibly low – assured Warden last year. – You will hear it, but you won’t really see it – she emphasized.
Each of the planned at least 100 B-21 Raiders will cost about $750 million, which is much less than the most advanced American B-2 bombers currently in use. The ultra-modern B-21s are to gradually replace the B-1 and B-2 bombers currently in service. The first bombers of this type are scheduled to enter service in 2026 or 2027.
Main photo source: Reuters