The rendering bears more than a passing resemblance to the Air Force’s B-2 bomber, which is also made by Northrop Grumman. She said the name of the new warplane would be chosen with the help of service members.
Revealed at the closing of her “state of the air force” address in Orlando, Florida today, USAF secretary Deborah Lee James revealed the official B-21 designation to rapturous applause.
“This aircraft represents the future for our Airmen, and (their) voice is important to this process”, James said. The bomber’s name will be announced at an Air Force conference scheduled in the fall.
The program has been shrouded in secrecy since its inception for fear of revealing military secrets to potential enemies, and to avoid giving the losing bidders any details before their formal protest was rejected last week. The Air Force settled on the B-21 designation as recognition that LRS-B is the first bomber of the 21st century, the statement noted.
Existing models of the US Air Force Global Hawk are capable of carrying an enhanced integrated sensor suite, airborne signals intelligence payload and multi-platform radar technology insertion program, the release added. “We need a minimum of one squadron for 12 air expeditionary forces to establish the rotational base requirement during peace time to be able to shape and maintain peace and stability around the world”.
The Air Force awarded the contract to build the B-21 to Northrup on October 27, to be fielded in the mid-2020s.
The Air Force said that only the engineering and development phase of the program, valued at $21.4 billion, was structured as a cost-plus contract with incentive fees.
So… what will the Air Force call this new bomber?
“Northrop Grumman is proud to serve as the prime contractor for the B-21 Bomber, in partnership with the U.S. Air Force, to deliver a capability that is vital to our national security”, Paynter said.