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SOURCE: AFI

The skies are soon to be graced with a new breed of bomber, as the Pentagon has officially authorized low-rate initial production of the highly anticipated B-21 Raider. This marks a significant milestone in the development of this next-generation stealth aircraft, poised to replace aging bombers and bolster America’s aerial arsenal.

“Production of the B-21 Raider is moving forward,” declared William LaPlante, Defense Undersecretary for Acquisition and Sustainment, in a recent statement. This decision comes after rigorous ground and flight testing, along with the evaluation of Northrop Grumman’s robust manufacturing plans.

LaPlante emphasized the program’s focus on scalable production from the outset. “If you don’t produce and field to warfighters at scale, the capability doesn’t really matter,” he stated. This emphasis on affordability and efficiency aims to deliver maximum power into the hands of the Air Force.

The B-21’s successful maiden flight in November 2023 played a crucial role in securing the production go-ahead. Now, with this greenlight, Northrop Grumman is expected to provide further program updates during their upcoming earnings call.

B-21 is expected to replace the aging B-1B Lancer and B-2 Spirit bombers. With at least 100 aircraft planned for the Air Force, the Raider will play a vital role in maintaining America’s strategic deterrence capabilities well into the future.