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DOD Official: B-21 Stealth Bomber Begins Low-Rate Production

Northrop Grumman contract

DOD Official: B-21 Stealth Bomber Begins Low-Rate Production

The Department of Defense has directed Northrop Grumman to start low-rate manufacturing of the B-21 Raider stealth bomber, following the initial ground and flight tests of the warplane’s prototype, William LaPlante, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, said. 

The go-ahead was also granted based on the “mature plans for manufacturing” of the Northrop team, LaPlante, a speaker at a past Potomac Officers Club event and a Wash100 winner, added. He also stressed that one of the B-21 program’s key elements is production at scale from the start “to provide a credible deterrent to adversaries.” 

According to a Northrop Grumman statement, its team secured the contract after flight testing “indicated readiness for production, achieving all flight performance and data requirements,” Breaking Defense reported Monday.

U.S. Air Force acquisition plans call for at least 100 Raiders to replace the B-2 Spirit and B-1 Lancer starting in the mid-2020s. The USAF and Northrop Grumman unveiled a B-21 prototype in December 2022, introducing it as the first sixth-generation warplane for the U.S. military’s nuclear triad. 

The aircraft’s capabilities, besides stealth features, include interconnectivity with multiple operational systems across all domains and a digital ecosystem open to future technological upgrades. 

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Tags: B-21 Raider Department of Defense Northrop Grumman Speaker News stealth bomber William LaPlante