See NG B-21 Raider – the backbone of deep penetration US aviation

WASHINGTON — In Palmdale, California, on December 3, the new stealth bomber and backbone of future American aviation – the B-21 Raider – was presented. 9,600 km range and 10 tons of payload, the B-21 was designed for deep penetration, leaving the US military out of range of enemy missiles.

B-21 was unveiled - the backbone of deep penetration US aviation
Photo credit: US Army

The plane was presented from only one angle, but with the naked eye, it can be seen that there are no edges or sharp corners in its construction. It is designed with thin air intakes and large intakes. The B-21 is a subsonic bomber that will not have high maneuverability. On stage, the B-21 was in white, but that may not have been its final color scheme, nor the anti-radar coating. But it’s entirely possible that the “new paint” is also a new technology from Northrup Grumman, which should anyway solve a problem with the rapid wear of our familiar radar coating, which wears off even when the plane is in the hangar.

The B-21 was designed to strike enemy territory. A future full-scale war with China will “spend” the nearest American bases in the first weeks. These are the ones in Japan (Kadena) and Guam. China has the DF-16, DF-17, DF-21, DF-21D, and DF-26 missiles, the range of which can reach any US base in the area.

It is the turn of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force and Navy. If the DF missiles fail, China has the power and the numbers to continue fighting. Most likely, Beijing also anticipated human losses when it came time to carry out such an invasion plan against Taiwan.

All this means that Beijing is capable of waging war from its territory, which challenges the US to attack there. Here, the new B-21 Raider should appear on the scene, along with the B-52s, B-1 Lancer, and B-2 Spirit.

But the B-21 Raider is at the beginning of its life. In the coming years, perhaps up to 18-24 months, the US will most likely make modifications to the bomber. Initially, there were calls and comments for Washington to invest in building a fleet of B-21 bombers. 150-200 units of B-21 were heard as proposals.

This almost certainly means decades of production as well as financiers. Analysts report that about 210 billion USD will be needed by Washington to develop and produce at least 100 units of the B-21 Raider. A production period of at least three decades also appeared. Nearly half a billion US dollars, according to preliminary estimates, will cost one bomber, if Northrup, however, manages to enter a cycle of mass serial production. Otherwise, its price can increase significantly.

The B-21 is built for deep penetration while covering the needs of the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance [ISR] domain for bombing and electronic attacks. According to preliminary expectations, the B-21 should avoid Chinese and Russian radars, then drop its payload over enemy territory. American experts described it as a sixth-generation aircraft, but there are many doubts about this as well. Russia, however, according to expert opinion, international experts, including Russian, have their concerns about the capabilities of the bomber.

See NG B-21 Raider - the backbone of deep penetration US aviation
Video screenshot

If the B-21 is a sixth-generation aircraft, this means full information control in the air. Acquisition and processing of collected information, followed by autonomous sharing with compatible technologies, to both US military and allied forces. Therefore, ISR and Electronic Warfare [EW] is a new role for a dedicated strategic stealth bomber, possibly ushering in the definition and configuration of Generation 6 aircraft that have yet to be formulated.

But does the B-21 have the concept that dozens of experts are working on to categorize a sixth-generation aircraft? For example, more artificial intelligence in the control of the aircraft, evolutionary propulsion of the jet engines, the absence of vertical stabilizers, powerful radars, directed energy weapons, etc. According to Russian scientists, the B-21 Raider presented as a sixth-generation aircraft is purely a marketing and publicity stunt.

The F-22 and F-35, the flagship fighters of the US fighter jet, have been in development for decades, and progress on the aforementioned requirements for a sixth-generation aircraft has yet to materialize. The B-21 Raider is more likely a 5th generation bomber, not a 6th.

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