B-21 Raider Nuclear Bomber Is Hiding Under the Sheets, Unveiling Set for Early December

At the time of writing, American has just three purpose-built bomber families in its arsenal. Known to some as the Bomber Trifecta, the group comprises the B-1B Lancer, B-2 Spirit, and the veteran B-52 Stratofortress. Come sometime soon, though, a fourth will be joining them: the B-21 Raider.
B-21 Raider nuclear bomber to be unveiled in early December 17 photos
Photo: Northrop Grumman
B-21 RaiderB-21 RaiderB-21 RaiderB-2 SpiritB-2 Spirit in IcelandB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 Spirit
Currently being put together by defense contractor Northrop Grumman, the airplane is of the nuclear bomber type, capable of long-range strikes and able to penetrate the toughest enemy defenses – at least that’s how its maker describes it.

The Raider is expected to have its first test flights next year, but until then a lot of work still needs to be done, including power-up, subsystems tests, engine runs, and taxi runs at various speeds.

Having the plane in the air pretty much means all the veils will have to come off its design, and Northrop Grumman plans to do that in an organized fashion, before the Raider takes flight. As a result of that, the company announced the B-21 Raider will be unveiled in the first week of December, in front of a carefully selected crowd.

The company even released a teaser image of the plane sitting under a very large sheet (main photo of this piece). The one we kind of see here is part of a series of six B-21 test aircraft that are in “various stages of final assembly in Palmdale, California.”

No actual details about the planes and their capabilities were released, but Doug Young, sector vice president and general manager, Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems, said in a statement the B-21 Raider “is the most advanced military aircraft ever built.”

We’re only hoping that at least some of the characteristics of the plane will be made public during the unveiling, but it’s more than obvious that given the secrecy that usually surrounds such things, details will probably be limited.
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Editor's note: Gallery also shows the B-2 Spirit.

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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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