Latest USAF Stealth Bomber Gets Its Internet-Given Name: B-21 Raider

Back in March, the story of Boaty McBoatface emerged on, a very expensive British research vessel that, for some bizarre reason, was left to be christened by the decent folks who lurk on the Internet.
B-21 Raider rendering 6 photos
B2 SpiritB2 SpiritB2 SpiritB2 SpiritB2 Spirit
Needless to say that it very nearly ended in tears as once somebody proposed the name Boaty McBoatface, it immediately became the most voted option by far. Probably foreseeing something like this (or maybe even worse), the organizers left the final decision to an official panel, so all the commotion eventually turned out to be in vain.

If asking the people to name a $290 million boat seems like a risky decision, how about what the United States Air Force did just days later? Confronted with an inspirational block, it invited people to send in names for its still in development B-21 stealth bomber - a project that's believed to cost in the region of $42 billion (and when we say "in the region," we mean "definitely no less than").

The USAF was a little bit more careful, and it only opened up the voting to people enrolled in the air force and their family members, so coming up with an insulting name could have gotten you court-martialed. In the end, the USAF received over 4,600 entries from which to choose, and its name was just announced this morning: sadly, it doesn't follow the "Blablay McBlaBlaFace" scheme.

After the B-2 Spirit, the US pilots will get to fly the B-21 Raider. The $550 million plane (the estimated cost for each unit) will not be ready until the mid-2020s when the USAF is expected to order over 100 of them. Which is all very nice, but what we'd really like to know is what other names have been considered or, better yet, we'd like to see the whole list of submissions. We don't want to be buzz killers, but we're absolutely convinced there were better options than "Raider."

seems to share our suspicion and has asked the USAF to release the full list of names invoking the Freedom of Information Act, but since this is the government, its request was denied. However, the Air Force confirmed it would release the shortlist of considered names sometime in the future. Well, that should be interesting too.


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