New US strategic bomber takes first flight (VIDEOS) — RT World News

The nuclear-capable B-21 Raider is expected to replace many older aircraft in the coming years

The US Air Force has conducted the first test flight of a new long-range stealth bomber, one of six operational prototypes scheduled to be produced by US arms giant Northrop Grumman.

The plane, dubbed the B-21 Raider, was seen in the skies of Northrop’s Palmdale, California, research facility on Friday afternoon, with footage of the flight captured by aviation photographer Matt Hartman.

The Air Force later confirmed the flight and called for prosecution “A critical first step in the test campaign managed by the Air Force Test Center and the 412th Test Wing’s B-21 Joint Test Force.” The new plane will “Provide penetrable, long-range offensive capabilities to deter aggression and strategic attacks against the United States, its allies, and partners.” Air Force spokeswoman Anne Stefanik added.

As part of the Pentagon’s long-range attack bomber program launched in 2011, the B-21 is expected to enter service sometime in 2027, according to Lt. Gen. James C. Dawkins, deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration. Officials hope the plane will replace several aging bombers over the coming decades, including the B-1 Lancer, B-52 Stratofortress, and B-2 Spirit.

Northrop Grumman, which also designed the B-2, acknowledged the test flight Friday in a statement, saying it would be. “Validate our digital models” And signs “Another step closer to reaching operational capability.”

During a House committee hearing last year, then-Pentagon Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Programs, Lt. Gen. David S. Nahum, the Army may seek to acquire up to 145 B-21s once the program is complete.

The new stealth aircraft faced setbacks during its development with the Air Force delay Her first trip was last year for unspecified reasons, citing the need for protection “Sensitive program information from adversary exploits.”

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