US Air Force postpones first flight of B-21 Raider nuclear bomber by several months

By: Maksim Panasovskyi | 18.03.2023, 00:31
US Air Force postpones first flight of B-21 Raider nuclear bomber by several months

The B-21 Raider, a next-generation nuclear bomber, will make its maiden flight later than expected. This was announced by U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall at the McAleese & Associates conference in Washington.

Here's What We Know

Northrop Grumman said a few weeks ago that it hopes to sign its first contract for the B-21 Raider nuclear bomber by the end of 2023. On the other hand, the US Air Force leadership noted that the aircraft must first pass all the tests, and then we can talk about the purchase.

As it became known, the B-21 Raider will make its maiden flight two months later than planned. Although it should be noted that there was no exact information as to when the plane was due to take off. Nevertheless, Frank Kendall said that the bomber's flight is "still within the basic schedule". Northrop Grumman added that the company still hopes to have its first flight in 2023.

In a press conference with reporters, Kendall declined to elaborate on what exactly caused the schedule shift. He said the delay was due to an internal timetable set by the US Air Force and did not indicate serious problems with the aircraft's development programme.

Earlier this week it was revealed that the US Air Force had requested $2.3bn to develop the B-21 Raider programme. This will allow the service to The US Air Force could order more than one B-21 Raider nuclear bomber in 2024 if Congress approves the $2.3bn funding request in fiscal year 2024.

The first aircraft has been given the number 001. It has been undergoing ground testing in recent months in preparation for its maiden flight to Edwards military base in California, where US Air Force experts will conduct further flight tests. Northrop Grumman has a total of six prototypes at different stages of production.

Source: Defence News