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B-21 Raider Flight Testing Progresses on Schedule

Data gathering

B-21 Raider Flight Testing Progresses on Schedule

The B-21 Raider stealth bomber is undergoing flight testing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and remains on track to meet established timelines for deployment, the Air Force said.

Andrew Hunter, Air Force’s assistant secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, confirmed the news during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Hunter, a past Potomac Officers Club event speaker and a 2024 Wash100 awardee, emphasized the effectiveness of the flight test program in gathering crucial data on the B-21’s unique characteristics.

Manufactured by Northrop Grumman, the B-21 is a long-range stealth bomber with an open architecture that can integrate technologies and adapt to evolving threats.

For the acquisition program, the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office seeks to facilitate a quicker transition to full-scale production by using identical manufacturing processes for both test and production aircraft.

Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota is slated to be the initial operational base and training center for the B-21. Meanwhile, Whiteman AFB in Missouri and Dyess AFB in Texas are designated as preferred locations for subsequent deployments.

The B-21, which will eventually replace the B-1 and B-2 models, is expected to enter service in the mid-2020s with a production goal of at least 100 aircraft.

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