The B-21 Raider - the US Air Force's secretive, next-generation, long-range stealth bomber, was featured in a new artist rendering graphic for a new fact sheet. This is the third official rendering of the B-21, as there are no images of the stealth bomber.
The new rendering shows a previously unseen cockpit windscreen configuration as the bomber takes off from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. We noted several years ago that the bomber would be tested at Edwards AFB.
Testing is expected to occur in May 2022 where actual images of the plane may be released before or during its maiden flight. The 420th Flight Test Squadron will plan, test, analyze and report on all flights on the new bomber.
The B-21 is the most advanced bomber to date, with complex nuclear long-range missions built into its airframe. It may even be able to carry hypersonic weapons.
"Nuclear modernization is a top priority for the Department of Defense and the Air Force, and B-21 is key to that plan," Randall Walden, Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office director, said in a Tuesday press release.
Senior Air Force officials have testified before Congress that the service is in desperate need of ordering the new stealth bombers that would increase its competitiveness globally.
The service plans to replace the B-1 Lancer and the B-2 Spirit bombers with the B-21.
"The built-in feature of open systems architecture on the B-21 makes the bomber effective as the threat environment evolves. This aircraft design approach sets the nation on the right path to ensuring America's enduring airpower capability," the press release continued.
The service's current plan is to purchase at least 100 B-21s. There is no timeline on when the first B-21 would enter deployment.
Simultaneously, China has unveiled renderings of its next-generation Xian H-20 strategic bomber. As the US-China relationship continues to sour and a new "Cold War" is underway, both countries are racing to deploy their next-gen stealth bomber.