United States’ B-21 Raider Release Date – When Will Be The First Flight Of B-21?
The B-21 Raider is America’s upcoming heavy bomber. The B-21 bomber is planned to join services with B-1 Lancer, B-2 Spirit, and B-52 Stratofortress of the USAF bomber fleet and will later replace these bombers as we mentioned in a previous article.
In the previous article, we also said that there is no confirmed release date yet for this aircraft. The Northrop Grumman recently announced that the first flight of the B-21 can be expected in 2023. In a release, the company said that the public unveiling of the B-21 Raider can be still expected in late 2022.
According to Northrop, the first B-21 finished its series of ground tests at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California in May. According to the company, the load calibration test was the most critical in the process. In this test aircraft’s instruments must be configured and must verify the aircraft’s structural integrity by subjecting it to various stresses.
The Northrop said that the test was successful and the initial B-21 is now continuing toward its first flight. The next steps of the grounds test process will be to power up the bomber, test its subsystems and apply coat and paint. The ground test phase of the B-21 began in early March.
Then the Northrop will carry out engine runs and high speed and low-speed taxi tests before the bomber flies for the first time. After that, the B-21 Raider will fly for the first time from Edwards Air Force Base in California where its flight tests will take place.
Former Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen Wilson said in 2019 that the Air Force had original plans to carry out the first B-21 flight in December of 2021. Then the Air Force changed their hopes to a mid-2022 first flight. Then by the end of 2021 Air Force and Northrop officials said that only the rollout will happen in 2022 and the first flight would happen later.
This long-range bomber with thermonuclear weapons definitely will be an eye-opener for the whole world no matter when it is going to be released.