The U.S. Air Force and Northrop Grumman have released the first new image of the B-21 Raider bomber in nearly four years. The image, designed to show the plane in hangars at air bases across the country, shows a few more details of the stealthy bomber. According to aviation experts, the new plane looks like the B-2 bomber—with some key differences.
The three images show the plane sitting in hangars at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, and Dyess Air Force Base in Texas. Ellsworth and Dyess are currently home to B-1B Lancer bombers, while Whiteman is home to America’s fleet of B-2A Spirit bombers. The B-21 Raider will eventually replace both types.
The B-21 Raider is the first new Air Force bomber since 1988, the year the B-2A Spirit was unveiled. Named after “Doolittle’s Raiders,” the force of B-25 Mitchell bombers that bombed Tokyo in the Spring of 1942, the B-21 is designed to overcome modern air defense threats, including such systems as the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system and Chinese J-20 stealth fighter to penetrate enemy airspace. The B-21 will be capable of carrying precision-guided conventional missions and nuclear weapons.