Pentagon Unveils B-21 Raider, Its Newest Stealth Bomber
America’s newest nuclear stealth bomber is making its public debut after years of secret development and as part of the Pentagon’s answer to rising concerns over a future conflict with China, Tara Copp reported for the Associated Press (AP).
Photo Insert: A rendering of the B-21 Raider
The B-21 Raider is the first new American bomber aircraft in more than 30 years. Almost every aspect of the program is classified.
Ahead of its unveiling Friday at an Air Force facility in Palmdale, California, only artists’ renderings of the warplane have been released. Those few images reveal that the Raider resembles the black nuclear stealth bomber it will eventually replace, the B-2 Spirit.
The bomber is part of the Pentagon’s efforts to modernize all three legs of its nuclear triad, which includes silo-launched nuclear ballistic missiles and submarine-launched warheads, as it shifts from the counterterrorism campaigns of recent decades to meet China’s rapid military modernization.
China is on track to have 1,500 nuclear weapons by 2035, and its gains in hypersonics, cyber warfare, space capabilities and other areas present “the most consequential and systemic challenge to US national security and the free and open international system,” the Pentagon said this week in its annual China report.