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America’s $745 million secret nuclear bomber took off in its first flight test


New images show America’s top-secret, $745 million stealth nuclear bomber taking off for what appears to be its first publicly recognized flight test.

The B-21 Raider was unveiled in December 2022, but the US government has so far been discreet about showing off the cutting-edge radar-evading aircraft.

The sleek bomber was shown flying for the first time as it undergoes flight testing in images released on Wednesday, one crucial step before production of at least the first order of 100 of the stealth craft can be approved.

The B-21 has been described as a «dual-capable bomber» – capable of launching both conventional and nuclear weapons.

This photo released by the U.S. Air Force on May 22, 2024 shows a B-21 Raider conducting ground testing, taxiing and flying at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

The US Air Force's B-21 stealth bomber is touted to be virtually

The US Air Force’s B-21 stealth bomber is touted to be virtually «invisible» to all enemy stealth radars and will feature the latest in military technology.

This month, during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Andrew Hunter, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, claimed that flight testing of the B-21 is currently on schedule.

«We are in the flight test program, the flight test program is going well,» he said.

«It does what flight test programs are designed to do, which is help us learn about the unique characteristics of this platform, but in a very, very efficient way.»

Assistant Secretary Hunter later explained that this is the first aircraft that is more digital than not, contributing to the program’s compliance.

The United States Air Force's new stealth bomber was first caught in action by eagle-eyed plane spotters last November, but it made a more official test flight this May.

The United States Air Force’s new stealth bomber was first caught in action by eagle-eyed plane spotters last November, but it made a more official test flight this May.

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The B-21 is a long-range, high-endurance, and penetrating stealth strike bomber that will gradually replace the B-1 and B-2 bombers and will play a major role in supporting national security objectives and assisting America’s allies and partners around the world.

The B-21 weapons system is manufactured under an Air Force contract with Northrop Grumman.

«It is designed with an open systems architecture that enables rapid deployment of advanced technologies and enables the aircraft to remain effective as threats evolve over time,» according to the US Air Force.

«The aircraft is expected to enter service in the mid-2020s with a target of producing at least 100 aircraft,» the military branch continued in its statement.

A B-21 taxiing at Edwards Air Force Base, California

A B-21 taxiing at Edwards Air Force Base, California

The B-21 Raider is a nuclear-capable craft and the first of its kind introduced since the end of the Cold War.

While press reports described the recent test flights as the B-21’s first, it was previously spotted on a test flight in California late last year, Air Force officials confirmed.

Aerial photographer Matt Hartman captured the new warplane in action at Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale facility in November 2023 and recorded video of this less public test flight from the road near Air Force Plant 42 Palmdale, California.

Aviation photographer Matt Hartman captured the new warplane in action at the Northrop Grumman facility in Palmdale last November and recorded a video of a less official test flight.

Aviation photographer Matt Hartman captured the new warplane in action at the Northrop Grumman facility in Palmdale last November and recorded a video of a less official test flight.

His footage shows the uniquely shaped B-21 Raider hurtling through the sky, flanked by other aircraft, before making a sharp turn.

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Aerospace company Northrop Grumman is building six test planes, and each of them is expected to cost $750 million.

It is advertised as being virtually «invisible» to all enemy stealth radars and will be equipped with the latest military technology features.

The B-21 Raider weighs around 30,000 pounds, has a wingspan of 172 feet, and can reach a top speed of 621 miles per hour.

Air Force Global Strike Commander Thomas A. Bussier called the craft «the future backbone of the bomber fleet» at the November unveiling.

In the long term, the US Air Force hopes to have at least 220 to replace the aging B-1 and B-2 bombers.

The service estimates the program is likely to cost at least $203 billion over 30 years to develop, purchase and maintain the B-21 fleet.

The B-21 is part of the Pentagon’s effort to modernize all three parts of its nuclear triad, which also includes nuclear silo-launched ballistic missiles and submarine-launched warheads, as it moves from the counterterrorism campaigns of recent decades to meet China’s fast-moving military. modernization.



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