With the B-21 Raider in a way more superior state of completion, right here is an evaluation of the small print uncovered by the latest pictures of the sixth technology stealth bomber.
On Sept. 12, 2023, three new pictures of the B-21 Raider sixth technology stealth bomber have been launched throughout the 2023 Air, House & Cyber Convention. In comparison with the latest photos released in March 2023, the bomber now seems in a way more superior state of completion as engine runs are already in progress as a part of its floor check program at Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale facility.
Following the first two new images launched by the U.S. Air Power throughout the keynote speech delivered by Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., the service’s Chief of Workers, throughout the convention, another photo was released by Northrop Grumman confirming the information disclosed by Gen. Thomas A. Bussiere, Commander of the Air Power International Strike Command, in regards to the engine runs.
In the identical event, Air Power Secretary Frank Kendall shared few new particulars in regards to the extremely categorised bomber.
In accordance with Kendall, the Lengthy Vary Strike household consists of methods to be built-in throughout the plane and others that may accompany it. The Long Range Strike household of methods consists of, along with the B-21 Raider, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, digital assault, communication and different capabilities.
“The B-21 household of methods … includes issues that may very well be carried by or presumably accompany the B-21, issues that may assist it from off-board,” stated Kendall. “That features munitions, it consists of different issues that may very well be used for defensive functions, for instance. So, that’s actually what that’s all about.”
Among the many off-board that we may consider there are unmanned Collaborative Fight Plane (CCA). Earlier this 12 months, Kendall stated Air Power ought to procure 200 NGAD fighters along with 1,000 CCA. Whereas the autonomous drones have been initially thought to cooperate within the “loyal wingman” position with the sixth-generation fight plane inside a “system of methods”, Lt. Gen. Slife, Deputy Chief of Workers for Operations, stated final week the CCA fleet may additionally assume different roles, together with working in cooperation with the B-21.
Anyway, let’s now focus on the small print emerged from the newly launched pictures, ranging from the photograph contained in the hangar. This new photograph permits for a tough estimate of the scale of the B-21 through the use of the personnel underneath the bomber as reference. Evaluating them with the typical peak of individuals within the US, the B-21 seems to have a wingspan of about 41.5 m (136 ft) and a peak of 6.6 m (20 ft), which suggests it’s narrower (135 ft vs 172 ft) and better (20 ft vs 17 ft) than the B-2 Spirit.
In all of the pictures we will see two giant trapezoidal arrays on the perimeters of the nostril touchdown gears which, whereas they’ve smaller dimensions, are extremely paying homage to the AN/APQ-181 radar arrays discovered on the B-2A. The completely different dimensions will not be a difficulty, because the arrays of the B-2A have been designed for a mid-Nineteen Eighties radar expertise, whereas the expertise used on the B-21 advantages from the latest miniaturized radar technology.
A dozen of black trapezoidal patches might be seen on the underside of the plane, 4 slightly below the nostril and 4 on both sides aligned with the engine air inlet. Whereas the pictures don’t present them clearly, we will assume they may very well be both air knowledge sensors or fiducial markers for flight testing. Beneath the cockpit home windows we will see two units of dynamic and static air data ports much like those discovered on the B-2A.
A big orange air knowledge probe has additionally been put in on the facet of the nostril touchdown gear. We will clearly see that the probe is angled downwards, which led some to suggesting the airplane might fly with a slight pitch-up angle. This suggestion seems affordable as the primary flight, which is able to see the Raider shifting from Air Power Plant 42 to Edwards Air Force Base, will seemingly see the plane flying in a set touchdown configuration, with flaps and kit down, and thus requiring a decrease airspeed and the next angle of assault.
The brand new pictures present for the primary time the management surfaces of the B-21 in a not impartial place. 4 units of surfaces might be seen, three on the outboard facet and one on the inboard facet of the wing. Judging by the positions and comparing with the B-2A, we will assume that the outermost surfaces are break up rudders, whereas the remaining ones are elevons. On the B-2A, because it has no vertical fin, the break up rudders and the elevons are used to regulate the plane rotation alongside the vertical/yaw axis, whereas pitch and roll are managed via (mid and inboard) elevons.
The facet views present even higher how the engine part has been blended within the airframe making them as flush as doable with the wing’s floor, in comparison with the B-2A. As we noticed additionally within the beforehand launched pictures, the engine inlets are buried in the airframe to take care of a low Radar Cross Part, as these are often one of many weakest factors for low observability. A black patch will also be seen within the rear of the engine space, which may presumably be an extension of the thermal safety used for the exhaust.
Judging by the markings on high of the plane, the air-to-air refueling receptacle has now been added. Different markings that may be seen on high are the serial quantity within the rear (similar place of the B-2A), the insignia of the Air Power International Strike Command, 412th Take a look at Wing and Air Power Materiel Command, and the markings for the ejection seat warnings and the ejection hatches. The “No Step” and different customary markings have additionally been utilized. The 412th Take a look at Wing insignia on the highest of the plane is complemented by the “ED” markings on the principle touchdown gear doorways.
The newly launched pictures, in line with the info released on DVIDS, have been taken on July 31, 2023, few days after Northrop Grumman introduced the first “power on” test of the brand new bomber. As we already talked about, the brand new pictures are additionally the primary ones taken exterior of the hangar, presumably in event of the bottom exams that might not be carried out inside. The primary flight of the Raider is predicted by the tip of calendar 12 months 2023.