US Air Force shared new renderings of the B-21 Raider aircraft. Northrop Grumman’s stealth bomber B-21 will be the successor to the B-1B Lancer and also to the B-2 Spirit, the first bomber invisible to radars. Northrop Grumman won the competition in 2015 and will make a new flying wing that is expected to enter service in the middle of this decade.
The jet is expected to fly in 2021, but the USAF does not reveal how many units will be ordered.
In the image published a few years ago, it was possible to notice that the engine’s air intakes would have an oblique cut in addition to the turbofans being positioned well at the wing-fuselage junction. In the B-2, the four GE F-118 engines are further apart and have more clear air vents than in the Raider, supposedly installed in the lower part of the wings.
At the rear, the cut out of the B-21 has only two “Vs” while on the B-2 there are four. Another reduction is in the cockpit windshield, simpler in the Raider that has no side windows. This was an unclear detail in the first drawing and can now be confirmed.
Finally, the fuselage curve of the B-21 looks shorter than that of the B-2, yet another indication that the new jet may be lighter. Despite this, it is hoped that the stealth bomber will be able to carry the same armaments as its predecessor, including nuclear items.
It will also not be surprising if the Raider ends up taking advantage of systems and equipment from other planes. The engines, for example, will be from Pratt & Whitney and it is speculated that the manufacturer has chosen to use the F100 (from the F-15) or the F135, which equips the F-35. On the other hand, the USAF wants the B-21 to be a versatile platform, capable of absorbing new technologies to prolong its useful life.
The bomber has the objective of costing much less to be manufactured as well as to be kept active