While the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has had some negative impact on contractors for the US military-industrial company Northrop Grumman, the overall development of the B-21 Raider heavy stealth strategic bomber is on the right track, said the head of the Air Force’s Operational Capabilities Directorate.  The United States by Randy Walden. The head noted that the development is not immune from design flaws, which, nevertheless, are being successfully eliminated. In the material about the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider.

I’ve talked about this in the past today we are making the number one test aircraft, and it already looks like an [real] aircraft. The good news is that hard critical design, all complex engineering is a thing of the past. Now we are talking about the actual production of the aircraft, its deployment, and flight tests, said the head of the Office for Operational Potential. Walden added that a team of specialists is now working to eliminate design flaws. For my part, I want to find out as quickly as possible what these design flaws were, continue to work with the solution [of the problems], include this in the B-21 Raider program during the development phase, and then continue production, said the head


By all accounts, things are going well with the B-21 Raider. According to the head of the Office of Operational Capabilities, the production of the bomber airframe is happening in parallel with software testing for avionics and other systems of the test sample of the aircraft, and progress in the B-21 Raider program is achieved through the use of flexible software development tools to accelerate readiness. relevant bomber systems and their integration. This approach of Northrop Grumman in the development of the B-21 Raider is directly opposite to that used in the creation of the fifth generation of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighters, when the US Air Force, in parallel development and production of aircraft, saw the risks of delays in the implementation and increase in the cost of the corresponding program.

Mark Ganzinger, an analyst at the Mitchell Institute, notes that to reduce costs and time, the program leverages the benefits of other projects, mature technologies, and even components designed for other weapons systems. In other words, at this stage of development, the B-21 is much more mature than was the F-35 and the Northrop strategic bomber B-2 program. “Unlike the F-35 program, I would like to say that the B-21 is more a matter of integration than invention.

Mark Ganzinger

Thus, the development and production of aircraft like the B-21 Raider by the American military-industrial complex (MIC) becomes routine and relatively inexpensive, and those states that still do not have such capabilities are left far and long behind.

High Tech Routine

If you look at the open materials on the B-21 Raider, you will notice that a promising bomber is being developed taking into account the vast experience of the American military-industrial complex in creating stealth fighters and strategic bombers. Due, for example, to the improved design of flat air intakes and optimized airframe geometry, the B-21 Raider, compared to the B-2 Spirit, will effective scattering area. The rejection of the sawtooth shape of the trailing edge in favor of a wedge-shaped one will likely increase the minimum flight altitude of the bomber, but make it difficult to detect at high altitudes by existing ground-based radar systems. With the smaller dimensions of the B-21 Raider (confirmed by renders) and, possibly, less weight, the new bomber should maintain the maximum flight range of the B-2 Spirit (11 thousand kilometers) with lower fuel consumption and will certainly exceed its maximum flight altitude (19 kilometers). It is unlikely that the mass of weapons carried by the B-21 Raider will increase significantly compared to the B-2 Spirit (27 tons), but this is not required, given the use of composite materials in modern high-precision weapons (B-2 Spirit first took off in July 1989 ).

The latter is the most expensive production aircraft in history. The cost of one such bomber (without equipment and weapons) is estimated at one billion dollars, when fully equipped, the price more than doubles. First of all, this is why, between 1987 and 2000, Northrop produced only 21 such machines – the B-2 Spirit was too expensive even for the expenditure side of the Pentagon’s budget, now more than twice that of all of Russia. The cost of one B-21 Raider, estimated at half a billion dollars, taking into account some devaluation dollar will not only not have a serious burden on the American budget, but together with the qualitative and quantitative strengthening of the Pentagon’s offensive capabilities will allow the United States to consolidate the achieved innovations and support its high-tech military-industrial complex. Of course, we have to admit that the cost of the B-21 Raider could be even lower, as the revenues of Northrop Grumman and its contractors, but we must not forget that defense money, like advanced technologies that are mastered by the American military-industrial complex, usually remain inside the United States, and not are withdrawn unnecessarily to the outside.

First And Ready

Although Northrop Grumman calls the B-21 Raider the future of containment politics, the B-2 Spirit has distinguished itself throughout its history. When the United States goes to war, B-2s go first – as was the case in Iraq, Afghanistan, Serbia, and Libya (in 2011 and 2017)

Northrop Grumman Commercial

In the same video, the corporation praises the 44-hour B-2 Spirit combat mission carried out in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, which in world history is considered a record among its kind in its duration, and does not forget about its successor  B-21 Raider.  the principle, there are not so many places on Earth where, according to the Pentagon, it would be advisable to use American strategic bombers. For example, in January, Lieutenant General David Deptula said that the United States could deliver a quick and deadly blow to Iran using stealth fighters of the fifth-generation F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II, as well as the B-21 Raider. The former deputy chief of staff of the air reconnaissance of the Air Force called the use of these aircraft as an asymmetric response method. The US, according to the lieutenant general, will be able to quickly destroy key infrastructure in Iran.

Deptula is confident that Iran cannot withstand a direct war with the United States, but has invested in a wide range of opportunities that can increase losses among potential adversaries. The lieutenant general named Iranian ballistic and cruise missiles, drones, combat aircraft, and cyber operations as the main threats. At the same time, the military noted Iran’s air defense systems, the most advanced of which are the Russian-made S-300 Favorit anti-aircraft missile systems (SAM).

If used correctly, the lethal force effect, based on modern aerospace power, supplemented by offensive cyber operations, can lead to the collapse of Iran’s economy, defeat its military forces, weaken its nuclear programs and suppress its regional influence concludes Deptula. Jeffrey Harrigan, Commander of the United States Air Force Europe, made another interesting statement in September 2019. According to him, the Pentagon has a plan to break through the multi-layer air defense of the Kaliningrad region. We train for this. We are constantly thinking about these plans, and. if it is ever needed, we will be ready

Jeffrey Harrigan

The military did not disclose the details of the plan to break through the air defense of the Kaliningrad region, where, in particular, the S-400 Triumph air defense systems are located, however, he may have had in mind some kind of multi-domain operation, as in the case of Iran, involving the simultaneous impact on the targets of the enemy air land sea and space systems, as well as the use of cyber and electronic warfare systems. In August 2018, the same Harrigan, who served as head of the US Air Force Central Command, noted that Washington is actively monitoring Russian weapons in Syria. Of course, we learned a lot about some of the opportunities that the Russians brought to Syria.

Jeffrey Harrigan

The Lieutenant-General noted that, in particular, we are talking about the Su-34 and Su-35 fighters, the information collected about which will be taken into account when updating the F-35 Lightning II database regarding actions in the “operational environment”. According to Harrigan, Israel is also collecting information for its F-35I


If in the case of Iran it makes sense to take such statements with at least some degree of seriousness, then Russia, which possesses nuclear weapons, has nothing to fear. However, it is dangerous to consider it, like hypersonic weapons, as a guarantee of the country’s strategic security, given the growing gap in technology with Western and Asian countries. And the state of the Russian rocket, space, and aviation industry does not inspire optimism about the prospects for any significant improvement.

So far, the Russian promising long-range aviation complex (PAK DA), which is supposed to replace the strategic bombers Tu-95 and partly Tu-160, actually exists only in the form of a draft design. Looking back at the example of the Su-57 fighter, it can be assumed that Russia is capable of creating single prototypes of promising technology and even doing it quite quickly. However, the possibility of the country entering the mass production of new serial products raises great doubts, and integration with space surveillance and reconnaissance systems, due to the extreme underdevelopment of the latter and the microelectronic industry, seems fantastic.

Serial production of the PAK DA should begin in 2027. Then, as he assured in December 2019, even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko, PAK DA, will enter service with the country’s Aerospace Forces. By the State Armament Program, in the period up to 2027, modern models of AME [weapons, military, and special equipment] will enter service, which in their characteristics are not inferior to the best foreign counterparts, and often have no analogs in the world. Alexey Krivoruchko, In the United States, the B-21 Raider is due to fly for the first time in December 2021, and by the mid-2020s it will be adopted by the country’s Air Force. The difference in the declared readiness dates of the B-21 Raider and the PAK DA is small, but it is large in the real, and not declared, capabilities of the two states.