FPI / December 7, 2022
By Richard Fisher
Following years of circumspect hints and illustrations, on Dec. 2 designer Northrop-Grumman finally revealed its second-generation “flying wing” stealth bomber, the B-21 “Raider” that is also touted as the world’s first “6th Generation” combat aircraft.
The previous generation Northrop-Grumman B-2 “Spirit” pioneering stealth bomber was revealed in 1988 though with the end of the Cold War only 20 were purchased and this maintenance intensive bomber is due to be retired by 2030.
Though no performance data has so been revealed, the B-21 looks to be about three-quarters the size of the B-2.
But the B-21’s stealth features are far advanced, featuring flatter scalloped engine air intakes, a wider under-saucer for fuel and weapons, and a very smooth surface devoid of sensor surfaces, indicating a much greater broadband stealth capability.
But what really sets the B-21 apart from the B-2 will be its advanced 6th generation electronics infused with artificial intelligence, advanced network/joint force capabilities, and near-term capability to control multiple unmanned combat aircraft and to eventually fly unmanned missions itself.
Free Press International