×
Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Pay Chart (2023) Military Ranks
Advertisements

HOME
AIRCRAFT / AVIATION
MODERN AIR FORCES
COUNTRIES
MANUFACTURERS
COMPARE
BY CONFLICT
BY TYPE
BY DECADE
MODERN AIRCRAFT
X-PLANE
FUTURE FLIGHT

Aviation / Aerospace


Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider


Sixth Generation Long Range Strategic Stealth Bomber [ 2028 ]



Born from the USAF LRS-B strike platform initiative, the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider was unveiled in a December 2022 rollout ceremony.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 12/03/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

GO TO SPECIFICATIONS [+]
Advertisements
The Northrop Grumman B-21 "Raider" is the latest addition to the United States Air Force's attack arsenal and a successor to the B-2A "Spirit" stealth bomber of the 1990s. It represents the company's most important project since the Spirit was first launched and is the world's first - and only - Sixth Generation bomber aircraft offering. The designation of "B-21" was applied on officially announced February 26th, 2016 after which artist renderings appeared to show a bomber form not unlike the previous entry.

The 6th Gen bomber's "Raider" moniker is derived from the daring World War II "Doolittle" raid against the heart of the Empire of Japan involving the North American B-25 "Mitchell" medium bomber and eighty airmen.

Expensive, though potent, bomber fleets in the modern age are few and far between with fewer than a handful of global services supporting the type: United States, Russia, China, and North Korea.

The aircraft is designed as a deterrence-minded stealth penetrator, capable of entering enemy airspaces and attacking through a potent conventional or nuclear war load with minimal detection. It joins other advanced aircraft types in the USAF inventory that includes the Lockheed F-22 "Raptor" air dominace fighter and F-35 "Lightning II" strike fighter entries - a triad unmatched anywhere in the world.

The design was born from the USAF's "Long Range Strike - Bomber" (LRS-B) program (succeeding the earlier, eventually-cancelled "Next-Generation Bomber" program) that involved proposals from defense powerhouses Boeing / Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. The development contract was awarded on October 27th, 2015 with Northrop coming out on top.

As of this writing (2022), the B-21 is expected to enter service in the latter half of the 2020s with an initial target fleet of 100 airframes. These will be used, at least initially, alongside aging platforms such as the Boeing B-52 "Stratofortress", the Rockwell B-1 "Lancer", and Northrop's own B-2A before directly succeeding all three in service in the strategic bomber role.

The USAF's Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) is heading the initiative and the partners list includes Pratt & Whitney (engines), BAe Systems (electronics), GKN Aerospace (metals and composites), Janicki Industries (composites and tooling), Orbital ATK (wing skins and nacelles), Spirit Aerosystems (metals and composites), and Rockwell Collins (communications). Northrop Grumman will provide the onboard radar fit.

Base on the rollout ceremony's reveal, the B-21 has an "all-wing" planform not unlike the B-2A though incorporating all proven, and some new, stealth technologies into its design. The flight crew numbers two and the team is seated at the apex of the "arrow" shape along the arrowhead-like planform. All major compartments are situated at the center mass of the aircraft whose fuselage is blended into the wings to promote a very-low-profile when viewed in profile. As with the B-2A, the engines will be housed in the rear in a side-by-side, embedded arrangement with its exhaust protected as much as possible from IR locators. A conventional, multi-wheeled retractable tricycle undercarriage will be used for ground-running.

While an unmanned option has been mentioned in regards to the new bomber, this initiative appears to no longer be in play. However, the concept of having the bomber network with allied drones may remain a real possibility. At the very least, modularity is at the heart of the new bomber design, allowing for rapid upgrading of software and systems while streamlining the (eventual) modernization process. A digital infrastructure forms the framework of the B-21's data transfer / data-sharing to a cloud environment - providing critical mission information to a complete network.

Compared to the B-2A, the B-21 has a longer "beak" like nose and the nose leg appears to sit further aft with main legs given fewer wheel bogies. Externally, the cockpit is detailed with two windscreens (as opposed to four as seen in the B-2A) and indicates a side-by-side seating arrangement for the two pilots. The engine inlets/intakes are slimmer and integrated closer to the center mass of the fuselage, reducing the overall length of the fuselage itself (as well as its height). Attention is being paid to medium- / higher-altitude flight controlling by implementation of a simplified wing along the leading edges and "sawtooth" trailing edges.

Overall dimensions appear to indicate a smaller overall bomber form when compared to the relatively large B-2A.

At least six airframes were known to be under construction in early 2022 with hundreds of suppliers found in no fewer than forty states. A first-flight is expected for some time in 2023.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.

February 2016 - Work on the B-21 project began.

September 2016 - The name of "Raider" has been assigned to the B-21 by the USAF. It is in honor of the "Doolittle Raiders" of World War 2. The service seeks to purchase 100 B-21s at a cost of $564 million per aircraft.

March 2017 - It was announced that the B-21 had passed a pair of preliminary design reviews.

November 2017 - Requirements of the B-21 product, and its basic design, have been completed.

June 2018 - The B-21's Critical Design Review (CDR) is slated for completion before the end of 2018. The CDR phase precedes the component manufacturing step required to produce a flyable prototype.

October 2019 - The first B-21 airframe is under construction by Northrop Grumman out of the company's Palmdale, California facility. A first-flight is tentatively scheduled for December 2021.

February 2020 - New USAF renderings depict the soon-to-be B-21 Raider stealth bomber in hangar at Whiteman AFB.

August 2020 - The first B-21 test aircraft is entering final assembly. A first-flight is tentatively scheduled for sometime in 2022 with deliveries to occur sometime in the middle of the decade at the earliest.

August 2020 - The B-21 avionics testbed has been announced as operational.

January 2021 - First-flight of the B-21 Raider prototype has been delayed from December 2021 until the middle of 2022.

June 2021 - Ellsworth Air Force Base has been selected as the first operational base to feature the new USAF B-21 stealth bomber.

September 2021 - The USAF has revealed that five test-minded B-21 airframes are currently under construction by Northrop Grumman, these examples nearing final assembly.

March 2022 - The initial B-21 airframe has begun ground testing. Official rollout and first-flight might occur before the end of the year.

May 2022 - The USAF expects to officially rollout the B-21 Raider bomber in 2022 with a first-flight tentatively planned for 2023.

May 2022 - Development delays have led to the USAF officially pushing the B-21's first-flight into 2023.

December 2022 - The B-21 was formally showcased in a highly-publicized roll-out ceremony by Northrop Grumman.

Advertisements

Specifications



Service Year
2028

Origin
United States national flag graphic
United States

Status
IN-DEVELOPMENT
Program in Progress.
Crew
2

Production
1
UNITS


National flag of the United States United States (planned)
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Ground Attack (Bombing, Strafing)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.


RADAR-CAPABLE
Houses, or can house (through specialized variants), radar equipment for searching, tracking, and engagement of enemy elements.
COUNTERMEASURES
Survivability enhanced by way of onboard electronic or physical countermeasures enacted by the aircraft or pilot/crew.
MULTI-ENGINE
Incorporates two or more engines, enhancing survivability and / or performance.
WING SWEEPBACK
Mainplanes, or leading edges, features swept-back lines for enhanced high-speed performance and handling.
INTERNAL BAY
Fuselage volume includes space for internally-held weapons or special-mission equipment.
HIGH-ALTITUDE PERFORMANCE
Can reach and operate at higher altitudes than average aircraft of its time.
EXTENDED RANGE PERFORMANCE
Capability to travel considerable distances through onboard fuel stores.
PILOT / CREW EJECTION SYSTEM
Assisted process of allowing its pilot and / or crew to eject in the event of an airborne emergency.
CREWSPACE PRESSURIZATION
Supports pressurization required at higher operating altitudes for crew survival.


Length
65.6 ft
(20.00 m)
Width/Span
164.0 ft
(50.00 m)
Height
16.4 ft
(5.00 m)
Empty Wgt
154,324 lb
(70,000 kg)
MTOW
374,786 lb
(170,000 kg)
Wgt Diff
+220,462 lb
(+100,000 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Northrop Grumman B-21A production variant)
monoplane / shoulder-mounted / delta, tailless
Monoplane
Design utilizes a single primary wing mainplane; this represent the most popular mainplane arrangement.
Shoulder-Mounted
Mainplanes are mounted at the upper section of the fuselage, generally at the imaginary line intersecting the pilot's shoulders.
Delta, Tailless
The delta planform lacks a conventional tailplane arrangement with all wing surface area taken up by the delta planform.
(Structural descriptors pertain to the Northrop Grumman B-21A production variant)
Installed: (Assumed): 2 x Pratt & Whitney turbofan engines developing over 15,000lb of thrust each (estimated).
Max Speed
621 mph
(1,000 kph | 540 kts)
Cruise Speed
466 mph
(750 kph | 405 kts)
Max. Speed Diff
+155 mph
(+250 kph | 135 kts)
Ceiling
49,213 ft
(15,000 m | 9 mi)
Range
6,835 mi
(11,000 km | 20,372 nm)


♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030


(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the Northrop Grumman B-21A production variant. Performance specifications showcased above are subject to environmental factors as well as aircraft configuration. Estimates are made when Real Data not available. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)
Assumed internal weapons bay supporting up to 50,000lb of ordnance (conventional drop bombs and precision-guided bombs) including nuclear-tipped bombs/missiles.


Supported Types


Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Graphical image of an aircraft guided bomb munition
Graphical image of an air-launched nuclear weapon


(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
B-21 - Official Series Designation applied in February of 2016.
LRS-B ("Long Range Strike - Bomber") - Project Name


General Assessment
Firepower  
Performance  
Survivability  
Versatility  
Impact  
Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
Overall Rating
The overall rating takes into account over 60 individual factors related to this aircraft entry.
48
Rating is out of a possible 100 points.
Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (621mph).

Graph average of 563 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Northrop Grumman B-21A operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
Max Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected above are altitude, speed, and range.
Aviation Era Span
Pie graph section
Showcasing era cross-over of this aircraft design.
Unit Production (1)
1
36183
44000
Compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian).


Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Ukranian-Russian War
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft


Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.

Images Gallery



1 / 6
Image from the United States Air Force; Public Release.
2 / 6
Official artist rendering of the B-21 Stealth Bomber.
3 / 6
Official artist rendering of the B-21 Stealth Bomber.
4 / 6
Image from official Northrop Grumman marketing materials.
5 / 6
Northrop Grumman artist impression of the LRS-B.
6 / 6
Northrop Grumman artist impression of the LRS-B.

Similar Aircraft



Aviation developments of similar form and function, or related to, the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider...


Advertisements







Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies


2023 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing all American military medals and ribbons.


www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-