B-21 Raider load tests finished, power units and taxiing next

WASHINGTON — The B-21A Raider successfully completed the first ground-based load calibration tests. The information was disseminated by Northrop Grumman on May 25. The American company also announced that after the completion of these tests, the tests on starting the onboard computer systems and applying some paint coatings will start in June.

Russian nightmare: the brand new dangerous U.S. stealth bomber
Photo credit: Military.com

Northrop Grumman engineers are pleased with the results obtained during the load calibration tests. They [tests] are the basis for the next two phases – starting the onboard system, power units, and taxiing. These tests are also ground-based, but if the B-21A Raider passes them successfully, in 2023 the bomber will perform its first flight test.

Northrop Grumman is building six prototype B-21A Raider bombers at its Palmdale, California facility. Preliminary estimates suggest that the unit price of a mass-produced B-21A Raider will be around $ 640 million. It is estimated that the United States will order at least 100 units after passing the tests and the B-21A Raider received the green light for series production. The B-21A Raider replaces the obsolete US Air Force bombers, the Boeing B-1B Lancer, and the Northrop Grumman B-2A Spirit.

B-21A Raider requires new ground infrastructure to accommodate it, and to carry out processes of renewal and modernization. According to various estimates, the first mass-produced bomber will be in the middle of this decade. His home will be Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.

B-21 Raider load tests finished, power units and taxiing next
Photo: Wikipedia

B-21 Raider will command a drone swarm

The promising B-21 bomber, which is currently being built for the US Air Force, will not only be able to “drop bombs on the enemy”, but also become a kind of base for a number of drones and control them during difficult missions. This was stated in an interview with Bloomberg by US Secretary of State Frank Kendall. The B-21 as a “command post” for UAVs should be “a new way to cause the enemy a headache.”

Interestingly, in this case, the drones will not occupy a “valuable place inside the bomber”, but will be launched from ground bases and will communicate with the bomber in the air.

Thus, the B-21 will act as a “quarterback that controls unmanned systems” and will generally have more capabilities to carry out a combat mission thanks to drones that can perform not only reconnaissance functions, but also attack the enemy with their own weapons.


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