The Pentagon calls it the king of the skies, as it will be the most advanced flying machine in human history. Its task will be to confront emerging threats from Russia and China.
The B-21 Raider will replace the well-dated B-52 Stratofortress, B-1B Lancer and the still modern-looking B-2 Spirit. According to the USAF, it is to be a machine imbued with state-of-the-art electronics. The Pentagon has not revealed details of the project, but we can guess that the B-21 will be equipped with a SCRAMJET-type jet propulsion system, which will allow it to fly at an altitude of tens of kilometers above the Earth’s surface and at speeds exceeding 5000 km/h.
Raider is to be the aircraft of the future, which will allow the United States to carry out in a very short time extremely precise bombing raids on targets located in even the most remote parts of the world. The machine will probably fly in both manned and unmanned versions. On its board there will be room for a new kind of weaponry, including laser guns and electromagnetic and nuclear bombs. The project is being led by engineers at Northrop Grumman, in close collaboration with engineers at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Last November, the project passed a Critical Design Review audit initiated by the US Department of Defense. It appears that the development of the next-generation strategic bomber is progressing well and we’ll be able to see it in pictures later this year. The machine is currently in the prototype stage, but is already capable of its first demonstration flight for the Pentagon. Work on it is being carried out at the famous Area 51 in Nevada.
The B-21 got its name in honor of a major event for the U.S. Army that took place during World War II. It was the Tokyo Raid, also known as the Doolittle Raid. It was the first raid on Japanese territory by the U.S. Air Force, and so far the only attack by non-aircraft bombers taking off from aircraft carriers.
Some time ago, Aviationist specialists spotted new hangars and a new U-shaped taxiway for the mystery planes in the latest satellite images. The hangar has unusual dimensions, being 76 meters long and 83 meters wide. This is far too much for the famous flying wings, the B-2 Spirit strategic bombers.
The USAF last year officially confirmed that such a machine will be built and will enter service with the US Air Force in 2021. The attributes of the new flying wing are to be invisibility to radar, huge range, high cruising speeds and advanced weapons. A total of 100 to 150 examples of this machine are to be built.
Northrop Grumman began work on the new aircraft about six years ago. This was possible because this one of the world’s largest defense companies already has the technology to build a propulsion system that combines the capabilities of a turbojet, thruster and pulsejet engine.
Interestingly, some time ago loud sonic thunders were heard over the entire USA. Their essence and origin have not been discovered, but some time after these events, representatives of the U.S. Air Force and defense corporations reported testing of new, super-fast aircraft. A demonstrator of one of these was even seen landing at the US Air Force’s Air Force Base 42 in Palmdale.
Recall that the United States is still working on other aircraft, namely a successor to the iconic SR-71 BlackBird, with a next-generation jet engine, as well as a fighter of the future to replace the F-35 Lightning II, which is only entering service.
In the video below, you can see how the B-2 bomber was developed in the 1980s, and yet it still wows the world with its design. Now imagine what technologies the B-21 will offer when it is designed now, at the end of the second decade of the 21st century on space hardware.