After years of secrecy, the B-21 Raider rolled out of its hangar in Palmdale on Friday morning and took to the skies for its maiden flight, giving plane fans, contractor workers and the general public their first glimpse of the futuristic-looking bomber within the air.
stated Matt Hartman, a photographer who was in Palmdale hoping to seize pictures of the aircraft after listening to rumors the flight may be imminent.
About 80 folks gathered close to Palmdale Regional Airport to attempt to see the primary flight with their very own eyes. As soon as the bomber handed, “you would hear a pin drop,” Hartman stated.
The US Air Drive confirmed that the B-21 was present process flight testing, describing it as a “crucial step” within the bomber’s testing programme. Flight testing contains not solely flight operations, but additionally floor exams and taxi exams. Edwards Air Drive Base is liable for testing and evaluating the B-21.
Northrop Grumman stated in a press release on Friday that the flight check program “brings us one step nearer to reaching operational functionality.” In December, Northrop Grumman unveiled the B-21 bomber for the primary time, though this reveal solely confirmed the entrance of the plane. The technical particulars of the aircraft have remained strictly confidential till now.
The Air Drive plans to purchase not less than 100 B-21 stealth bombers by the mid-2030s for about $80 billion. The Air Drive stated there are already six B-21 bombers in manufacturing. The brand new plane would finally exchange the ageing B-1 and B-2 bomber fleets.
Though the B-21’s flying wing form seems much like that of the B-2, it has improved stealth expertise and can be extra supportable and maintainable than its predecessor, which had very excessive upkeep prices.
The bomber is designed for manned and unmanned missions, reflecting technological upgrades that weren’t out there when the B-2 was constructed within the Eighties.
The Air Drive plans to have the primary few B-21 bombers, designed to fly long-range missions whereas avoiding radar detection, by the mid-2020s. The bomber is a part of the US army’s efforts to modernize its nuclear triad, which incorporates warheads, submarines and missiles. At a time when world rivals corresponding to China are additionally bettering their weapons expertise.
This system has boosted aviation employment alternatives within the Antelope Valley, lengthy recognized for its aerospace manufacturing jobs. In December, greater than 7,000 folks have been employed at Northrop Grumman’s Antelope Valley amenities, double the quantity there in 2015 when the corporate gained the bomber contract.