The USA released the B-21, a flying concentrate of technologies
A bomber of superlatives: the new B-21 Raider is a concentrate of technology that will allow the United States to stay ahead of its adversaries. Stealth, versatile, modular, scalable and, best of all, it can be piloted remotely like a drone. The US Air Force ordered 100 copies, at 700 million each. Only the world’s leading economic power can afford such spending, with an annual defense budget of nearly $700 billion.
The United States on Friday unveiled its new stealth strategic bomber, the B-21 ‘Raider’, a device capable of operating without a crew and carrying out long-range nuclear strikes, as well as using conventional weaponry. .
The plane was presented in Palmdale, California at one of the sites of its manufacturer, Northrop Grumman, during a well-choreographed ceremony, opened by the American anthem.
With great amplification of projectors and dramatic music, the industrialist removed the veil on this new high-tech plane, of which the Pentagon plans to buy at least 100 copies, for about 700 million dollars each.
“The B-21 +Raider+ has been the premier strategic bomber for more than three decades,” said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. A sign according to him that the United States continues to show “intelligence and innovation”.
The American military does not want to reveal too much information on the capabilities of the B-21, with many of its technical characteristics remaining secret. But this new model, which should gradually replace the B-1 and B-2 bombers, whose first take-off began during the Cold War, should show significant improvements compared to existing fleet.
The new aircraft has “a range that no other long-range bomber can match,” Austin said, also ensuring the aircraft is one of the most durable bombers ever created.
Like the latest US military designs, including the F-22 and F-35 fighter jets, the B-21 will be stealthy.
“Even the most sophisticated air defense system will have difficulty detecting the B-21 in the sky,” assured Mr. Austin, explaining that the plane benefits from 50 years of American know-how in the field.
The plane also has an “open architecture” that should allow it to easily accommodate “new weapons that haven’t been invented yet”, he added.
The bomber is “designed to evolve”, commented Amy Nelson, an expert at the Brookings Institution, an American think tank based in Washington.
Its “open architecture” allows in particular “the future integration of software” capable of improving its performance, especially its autonomy, “so that the aircraft does not quickly become obsolete.”
“The B-21 is more polished than its predecessors, really modern,” he added. Unlike the B-2 bomber, the aircraft has a “dual capability”: it can be struck by both nuclear missiles and conventional weapons. But it can also “launch long-range and short-range missiles.”
This innovative bomber can also fly without any crew on board, a feature that was not mentioned during its Palmdale presentation.
An air force spokesman confirmed to AFP that the plane had “planned for this possibility, but no decision was made to fly without a crew”.
The first flight of the B-21, of which Northrop Grumman is already working on the first six copies, should take place in 2023.
Its nickname, “Raider”, was inspired by the raid led by Colonel James Doolittle to bomb Tokyo in 1942, the first American strike on Japanese soil during World War II, in retaliation for an attack by the aircraft of Afternoon at Pearl Harbor base in Hawaii. a year earlier.
The B-21 will be a key part of America’s “nuclear triad,” which consists of missiles and bombs that can be launched from land, sea or air.
“The bomber fleet allows the United States to be flexible in terms of nuclear deterrence and offers a guarantee in the event of problems with other pillars” of this strike force, concluded expert Amy Nelson.