The U.S. Air Force has released what is only the third rendering of its future B-21 Raider stealth bomber, which shows a previously unseen and extremely curious cockpit windscreen configuration. The latest image depicts one of the aircraft flying over Edwards Air Force Base in California, where initial testing of these bombers is set to begin after the type’s first flight, which is presently expected to occur in May 2022.
The Air Force released the new B-21 artwork on July 6, 2021, to go along with an official online fact sheet on the Raider. The service had released the second artist’s conception of the jet in January 2020, with the same rendering of the aircraft individually depicted inside hangars at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, and Dyess Air Force Base in Texas. Ellsworth is expected to be the first base to host an operational B-21 squadron after the type enter service in the mid-2020s, followed by Whiteman and Dyess.
“Nuclear modernization is a top priority for the Department of Defense and the Air Force, and B-21 is key to that plan,” Randall Walden, the director of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, said in a statement accompanying the artwork and fact sheet releases. “The built-in feature of open systems architecture on the B-21 makes the bomber effective as the threat environment evolves. This aircraft design approach sets the nation on the right path to ensuring America’s enduring airpower capability.”
We will have a more in-depth analysis of the new artwork and what it shows, as well as the information contained in the fact sheet, coming shortly.
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