Why the US Air Force Is So Desperate to Put the B-21 Raider Stealth Bomber Into Service

With its aging heavy bomber fleet, the USAF is eager to get its hands on the B-21 Raider.
B-21 rendering

The B-21 Raider is a new stealth bomber that the United States Air Force has wanted for a long time. Although it’s still at an early stage of development, major projects are already planned for this bomber.

The B-21 Raider is a game-changing aircraft that the US needs to replace the aging B-1B Lancer and B-52 Stratofortress – and will be the most advanced aircraft the world has ever seen. 

The futuristic B-21 Raider

Artist Rendering B-21 Raider Bomber Air Force Official
Artist Rendering B21 Bomber Air Force Official by U.S. Air Force Graphic. Public Domain.

The B-21 Raider is a new stealth bomber being developed by the United States Air Force. The aircraft is designed to replace the aging B-52 Stratofortress or B-1 Lancer and is expected to enter service in the early 2030s. 

Advertisements

The Air Force has wanted a new bomber for a long time, and the B-21 Raider seems to be the perfect option. It will help the US keep up with its adversaries, especially China, which would spend many years of research and development to copy the technology of the modern bomber.

B-52 Stratofortresses arrive in Europe
B-52 Stratofortresses arrive in Europe by Benjamin Raughton. Public Domain.

Very little is really known about the specifications of this aircraft as it’s still under development, and many new technologies can still be incorporated. Although it has a per unit cost cap of around $500 million.

In any case, the B-21 is being developed with a number of cutting-edge technologies that will make it virtually undetectable to enemy radar. In addition, the bomber will be armed with a variety of weapons, including nuclear bombs.

Advertisements

The B-21 is also supposed to have a very long range, meaning that it can fly long distances without having to refuel. This would increase the bombing capabilities of the U.S. Air Force, which despite having a stealth bomber like the B-2, it can dramatically increase its air power with the B-21.

B-2 Spirit bombing
B-2 Spirit bombing by USAF. Public Domain.

The air supremacy of the US

The B-21 Raider is not the only next-generation stealth bomber under development. Russia is working on the Pak Da. The Pak Da will be a subsonic bomber armed with cruise missiles and can carry up to 50 tons of payload. 

Also, the Chinese Xian H-20 is a subsonic strategic bomber designed for long-range, high-altitude missions. It is believed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons and is the first stealth bomber developed by China. 

Advertisements

The Xian H-20 is a significant development for China, as it gives the country a credible long-range strike capability for the first time.

The bomber is also important for symbolically asserting China’s status as a major military power. While the United States remains the only country with a truly global reach, the Chinese Xian H-20 signals that China is closing the gap.

While the B-21 Raider, Russian Pak Da, and Chinese Xian H-20 are all different aircraft, they share one common goal: to provide their respective countries with a next-generation stealth bomber capability – and it’s clear that they will all play a major role in shaping the future of aerial warfare.

Advertisements

The B-21 would ensure U.S. air supremacy in the world

Having a bomber as modern as the B-21, before China and Russia, would give the United States a technological competitive edge in the skies.

Russia will take decades to develop the Pak Da and China is in the early stages of developing its star bomber. So, the B-21 will give the US an advantage in this arms race.


Featured image credit: B-21 rendering by ALAN RADECKI. Public Domain.

Advertisements