The first B-21 Raider bomber is expected to roll out early next year and fly in the middle of 2022. The production of the second B-21 stealth bomber is already underway at Northrop Grumman’s facility in Palmdale, Calif., Airforce Magazine reports. The second airframe will be used for ground testing.
“The second one is really more about structures, and the overall structural capability,” Randall Walden, director of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office explained. “We’ll go in and bend it, we’ll test it to its limits, make sure that the design and the manufacturing and the production line make sense.”
Lt. Gen. James C. Dawkins, Jr., deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, said Jan. 14 that the B-21 will be available for service around 2026 or 2027.
The cost of developing and buying the first 100 aircraft at $80 billion in 2016 dollars.
The Air Force plans to spend about $300 million on military construction projects for the B-21 in fiscal 2022, Walden said, and $1 billion over five years. The service requested $2.8 billion for the plane’s research and development in fiscal 2021 alone.