A new image of the pre-production B-21 Raider stealth bomber taxiing at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, was posted on Reddit on Wednesday. This is the first public image showing the next-generation stealth bomber's rear as it continues moving closer to its maiden flight.
Defense blog The War Zone confirmed with a USAF spokesperson the photo on Reddit was the B-21 conducting taxi tests at Plant 42.
"I can confirm the B-21 is conducting ground taxi activities. Rigorous testing is a critical step in the B-21 flight test program," the spokesperson said, adding, "Extensive testing evaluates systems, components, and functionalities. This testing allows us to mitigate risks, optimize design, and enhance operational effectiveness."
Confirmation of the B-21′s taxi tests comes after the USAF revealed new images of the stealth bomber in Sept.
The military blog said, "The Air Force's goal now is for the Raider to take to the skies before the end of this year." The service's plan is to have B-21s operational by the mid-2020s—perfect timing since the risks of World War III are surging.