The U.S. Air Force released a new artist rendering of the upcoming B-21 Raider bomber. Although the Raider is similar to the older B-2 Spirit, the new bomber includes several design differences. The first B-21 bomber is already structurally complete and set for the first flight in mid-2022.
The stealth plane has a nose like a woodpecker, among other intriguing features.
The U.S. Air Force just dropped a new image of its top-secret B-21 Raider bomber. While the second official artist rendering doesn’t show a complete view of the bomber, the image does reveal important new details about the hotly anticipated plane, including how it’s markedly different from the older B-2 Spirit.
The new Northrop Grumman illustration, seen above, depicts the B-21 taking off from Edwards Air Force Base in southern California. Northrop is the prime contractor for the Raider and also built the Spirit, the U.S.’s first bat-winged stealth bomber.
This new image complements the first official B-21 image below, which the Air Force released in 2016:
That image depicted the plane from above, showing off the recessed air intakes and simplified trailing edge. (The B-2’s “sawtooth” trailing edge was originally going to look more like the B-21’s until a redesign added the serration-like surfaces.)
The B-2’s “sawtooth” trailing edge was designed to strengthen the aircraft for low-altitude flight. The B-21’s lack of such a dangerous-looking trailing edge suggests it flies at higher altitudes or uses stronger, lighter construction materials.
The new rendering shows the plane’s belly and nose. In addition to the trailing edge, this image confirms the Raider incorporates two new features.
One is the nose, which is straighter and a bit longer than the drooping nose of the B-2. The second is the odd windscreen configuration, in which the outer windscreens look like bushy eyebrows. The overall impression is that of a giant, frowning woodpecker.
This content is imported from Twitter. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information on their website.
The B-21 Raider force will be based at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, and Dyess Air Force Base in Texas. The B-21 will have a crew of two but will also be capable of uncrewed operation.