New B-21 Raider Photo Released By Northrop Grumman

B-21 new photo

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B-21 new photo
The B-21 Raider obtained the Grand Laureate award throughout the protection house at Aviation Week’s 66th Annual Laureate Awards. (Photograph: Northrop Grumman)

A brand new picture was launched as a part of a press launch on the Aviation Week Grand Laureate Award obtained by Northrop Grumman for the B-21 Raider through the 66th Annual Laureate awards in Washington DC.

Northrop Grumman obtained the Aviation Week Grand Laureate Award for its position because the prime contractor delivering the B-21 Raider to the US Air Power through the 66th Annual Laureate awards in Washington DC. Along with the press assertion, the corporate additionally launched a brand new picture of the B-21, which seems to have been taken earlier than the rollout ceremony in 2022.

“On behalf of all the nationwide B-21 Raider staff, Northrop Grumman is honored to obtain this prestigious award,” stated Tom Jones, company vice chairman and president, Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Methods. “The Grand Laureate represents the pioneering spirit, revolutionary know-how and trailblazing method to contract administration that has introduced the world’s first sixth-generation plane to life.”

The plane is at present present process a sturdy flight take a look at marketing campaign executed by the B-21 Mixed Check Power at Edwards Air Power Base, California, after the primary flight from Palmdale in November 2023 and the Low-Rate Initial Production contract in January 2024. Northrop Grumman added within the press launch that this system is continuous to satisfy all DoD technical, schedule and affordability necessities on its path to operational functionality.

Developed with the subsequent technology of stealth know-how, superior networking capabilities and open methods structure, the B-21 Raider will function the backbone of America’s bomber fleet, with 100 bombers on order to switch the B-2A Spirit and B-1B Lancer bombers. The B-21 may take an excellent greater position in future, as the pinnacle of U.S. Strategic Command expressed curiosity in buying greater than the deliberate 100 plane.

“The restricted manufacturing price of the B-21 is the one factor that I want we may do some faster,” Gen. Anthony J. Cotton stated during a recent Senate Armed Services Committee. “The truth that that’s an unbelievable sixth-generation platform, all indications are that the weapons system is transferring alongside at an excellent tempo so far as supply. The power for manufacturing and the variety of manufacturing, as a warfighter, clearly I might love extra.”

Developed with the subsequent technology of stealth know-how and an open methods structure, the B-21 Raider will function the spine of America’s bomber fleet. (Photograph: Northrop Grumman)

Former heads of the Air Power World Strike Command and consultants from the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Research additionally stated the U.S. Air Power might need as many as 150-225 B-21s ought to the US find yourself in a conflict with a near-peer adversary like China. The Air Power Deputy Chief of Workers for Plans and Packages, nevertheless, argued that such a call may not occur quickly.

“The choice level, with lead time accounted for, to go previous 100 isn’t till the mid to late ’30s,” Lt. Gen. Richard G. Moore Jr. stated. “So the dedication proper now could be to 100 plane. That takes us for procurement into the late ’30s. The choice whether or not or to not go previous that will very nicely not be primarily based on China, as a result of will probably be made at a time once we don’t foresee the safety setting and we don’t have to.”

The Common, nevertheless, didn’t exclude such a call, including that the service is considering it, however the choice doesn’t must be made now. In the mean time, the Air Power is transferring funds from analysis and growth to the procurement of the brand new bomber within the Fiscal Yr 2025 Price range Request. Particularly, funding for the engineering, manufacturing and development part will go from this yr’s $3 billion to $2.7 billion, whereas procurement funding will improve from $2.3 billion to $2.7 billion.

The B-21 Raider

Destined to switch the B-1 and B-2 fleets, the B-21 Raider, the primary main strategic bomber launched in 34 years, was formally unveiled on Dec. 2, 2022, throughout a rollout ceremony at Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale, California facility gathering political dignitaries, protection division officers, Air Power officers, enlisted personnel and a big group of workers liable for the B-21 Raider program.

There’s a refined, and quietly sinister shift within the look of the B-21 Raider from its predecessor the B-2 Spirit. The B-21’s oddly shaped cover speaks to modifications produced from experiences with the B-2 Spirit. The B-21 is visually and dimensionally smaller than the B-2, leaving an initially much less menacing impression because of its dimension. However the clean, animal-like contours and unusually non-metallic look of its grey floor give the extra subtle observer a way of quiet lethality and lurking development that the rollout didn’t reveal and, the truth is, wilfully hid.

Right here’s the up to date checklist of the main points we noticed, virtually reside, because the plane was being unveiled:

  • Total form is just like the one of many B-2 however the B-21 might be smaller in dimension (not as small as I used to be anticipating)
  • We weren’t allowed any aspect or planform views. Whereas the Raider is believed to be a flying wing just like the B-2, the NG picture beneath and a few barely seen shadows *may* imply the plane has a type of cranked arrow wing just like the one of many X-47B. That is one thing we’ll uncover sooner or later.
  • B-21 vanguard exhibits totally different design idea than the B-2
  • We will’t fully assess the form of the “hawk’s-beak” profile, though it appears just like what proven within the latest rendering and fewer pronounced than the one of many Spirit.
  • The B-21 options totally different inlets config (and blended conformal engine nacelles we are able to’t see from the entrance angle). The hd model of the entrance picture launched by the U.S. Air Power reveal a splitter plate within the inlet.
  • The B-21 has a two-wheel MLG (Most important Touchdown Gear)
  • MLG and Nostril Gear doorways: MLG doorways are usually not trapezoidal however present serrated edges whereas the nosegear door is serrated and never connected to the gear leg however on the best aspect of the bay.
  • The Raider has a brand new four-pieces windscreen, just like the Spirit, however with a really totally different form for the 2 lateral home windows. The aspect home windows look like arched and narrower than those within the entrance (about half the peak).
  • The colour appears to be a light-weight grey (just like the RQ-180)
  • There’s a small emblem in entrance of the nostril gear wheel bay that seems to be the stylized Northrop Grumman Flight take a look at badge that additionally seems on the X-47B proper wing.
B-21 Raider
Among the most fascinating particulars we observed within the B-21 Raider throughout its roll out (Picture credit score: David Cenciotti/The Aviationist)

On Sept. 12, 2023, three new photographs of the B-21 Raider sixth technology stealth bomber have been launched through the 2023 Air, House & Cyber Convention. In comparison with the photos released in March 2023, the bomber appeared in a way more superior state of completion as engine runs are already in progress as a part of its floor take a look at program at Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale facility.

The brand new picture allowed for a tough estimate of the size of the B-21 by utilizing the personnel beneath 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 implies it’s narrower (135 ft vs 172 ft) and better (20 ft vs 17 ft) than the B-2 Spirit.

In all of the photographs we are able to see two giant trapezoidal arrays on the perimeters of the nostril touchdown gears which, whereas they’ve smaller dimensions, are extremely harking back to the AN/APQ-181 radar arrays discovered on the B-2A. The totally different dimensions are usually not a problem, because the arrays of the B-2A have been designed for a mid-Nineteen Eighties radar know-how, whereas the know-how used on the B-21 advantages from the latest miniaturized radar technology.

A dozen of black trapezoidal patches may 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 photographs don’t present them clearly, we are able to assume they might be both air knowledge sensors or fiducial markers for flight testing. Beneath the cockpit home windows we are able to see two units of dynamic and static air data ports just like those discovered on the B-2A.

A big orange air knowledge probe has additionally been put in on the aspect of the nostril touchdown gear. We will clearly see that the probe is angled downwards, which led some to suggesting the airplane could fly with a slight pitch-up perspective.

The brand new photographs present for the primary time the management surfaces of the B-21 in a not impartial place. 4 units of surfaces may be seen, three on the outboard aspect and one on the inboard aspect of the wing. Judging by the positions and comparing with the B-2A, we are able to assume that the outermost surfaces are cut up rudders, whereas the remaining ones are elevons. On the B-2A, because it has no vertical fin, the cut up rudders and the elevons are used to manage the plane rotation alongside the vertical/yaw axis, whereas pitch and roll are managed by the use of (mid and inboard) elevons.

The aspect views present even higher how the engine part has been blended within the airframe making them as flush as attainable with the wing’s floor, in comparison with the B-2A. As we noticed additionally within the beforehand launched photographs, the engine inlets are buried in the airframe to keep up 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 World Strike Command, 412th Check Wing and Air Power Materiel Command, and the markings for the ejection seat warnings and the ejection hatches. The “No Step” and different commonplace markings have additionally been utilized. The 412th Check Wing insignia on the highest of the plane is complemented by the “ED” markings on the primary touchdown gear doorways.

B-21 details
Among the particulars from the brand new photographs of the B-21 Raider. (Unique picture: Northrop Grumman, edited by Stefano D’Urso/The Aviationist)

At 6:51 a.m on Nov. 10, 2023, native time, the B-21 Raider made its first flight from Palmdale to Edwards Air Force Base. As time goes by extra sightings of the historic flight of “Cerberus” are being printed on-line. Most noteworthy are the high-quality pictures of the plane’s underbelly photographed by fellow aircraft spotters that have been ready beneath the flightpath. This has allowed for an in-depth evaluation of the Raider’s lesser-known particulars.

B-21 additionally has a secondary air consumption that opens for elevated airflow very similar to the B-2 (Photograph by David Swanson and Ashley Wallace annotated by creator)

The sideview of the B-21 taxiing beneath its personal energy appears to substantiate that the plane has one secondary air intake door on high of every nacelle. On the B-2, the semi recessed engines have secondary consumption doorways that open throughout take off to offer enough airflow. Whereas the B-2 has two doorways per nacelle for its 4 engines, the B-21 solely seems to have a complete of two doorways.

Whereas it’s attainable that the airduct splits into two from a single opening to cater for 2 engine, it’s extra possible that the only consumption door signifies that there’s just one engine in every nacelle. Whereas extra proof ought to be overviewed earlier than making a sound conclusion, it appears ever so possible that the B-21 is a twin-engine bomber.

B-21 key features
Among the key options on the B-21’s underside (Photograph by Matt Hartman annotated by creator)

Some key options on the B-21’s underside might be famous after the primary flight:

What some initially considered the radar reflectors situated on both finish of the flying wing appears to be retractable navigation lights, just like what may be discovered on the B-2. Whereas the outboard navigation lights keep deployed in regular working situations, they protrude out of the wing and thus influence the whole radar cross part of a stealth plane. Thus, it is not uncommon follow for the B-2 to retract its navigation lights when present process a fight sortie. The identical sort of retractable navigation lights is predicted to be the protrusions proven on both finish of the B-21’s wing.

The actual radar reflectors, or Luneburg Lenses, are pictured right here put in between the touchdown gears. As a stealth plane won’t usually seem on radar, they have a tendency to fly with radar reflectors on until the necessity for low detection is required. Moreover, on a prototype plane as this, it’s uncommon to see one flying with out radar reflectors because the true radar return tends to be a carefully guarded secret.

Because of the plane’s low observable nature, its pitot tubes and static probes are additionally of a non-conventional form. Practically equivalent to the setup discovered on the B-2, the B-21 additionally utilises three units of 4 air knowledge probes situated on the nostril and cheek of the plane. Whereas any plane wants a set of pitot tube and static ports to measure its airspeed, altitude, and vertical pace, they have a tendency to stay out into the free-stream for correct measurements. Nonetheless, having a standard pitot static tube will probably be detrimental to a stealth plane’s radar return. Thus, the B-2 utilises a set of flush mounted static ports and knowledge correction to mimic the position of a standard pitot tube. Because of the air knowledge probes’ location being at an angle to the native airflow, there tends to be just a few arrays of the identical sensors to account for inaccuracies in measurement. On this case, the B-21 appears to have a close to equivalent setup on its air data ports because the B-2’s.

Usually talking, as observed on other types, the “trailing cone” is often a nylon cable with a stabilizing cone deployed in flight, usually 1 to 1.5 instances the wing span size, or about 50 metres, behind the plane to measure the ambient atmospheric stress (static stress) exactly, within the “free-stream air-flow” outdoors the disrupted air-flow generated by the plane – a key parameter for the pilots.

Determine 5 The air knowledge probe and trailing cone are mounted on the prototype plane as a part of flight testing and won’t be current on manufacturing variants (Photograph from nameless contributor on TheDrive supplemented by Reagan Okay. Woolf and House Age Management)

Very similar to that on the B-2, a darker shaded strip may be seen extending to the underside of the Raider’s rear finish. This seems to be a thermal coating utilized to the world in direct contact with the engine exhaust. Normally produced from a carbon fibre strengthened polymer, thermal coatings like this make sure that the engine exhaust is cooled down to scale back IR signature. It ought to be famous that Very Low Observable know-how (or “stealth”) not solely refers to low detection from radar, but in addition in different spectrums of together with each seen and infrared. Therefore, an effort is made to scale back the B-21’s detection in these arenas by means of a gray paint scheme and thermal coatings.

Probably the most intriguing element discovered could be the potential for a second set of inner weapons bays.

With the primary touchdown gears seeming to fold forwards, the panel line between the primary touchdown gear doorways and the central weapons bays raises suspicion for an additional weapons bay. Whereas the central weapons bay has two units of doorways that swing open, the secondary weapons bays seem to open up with a single door. As evident from the annotated image, the 2 set of secondary weapons bays could be smaller in width and size than the primary bay. It may be speculated that there will probably be house for self defence options reminiscent of decoys, air-launched drones, and even air-to-air missiles. It ought to be famous that the USAF web page on the B-21’s capabilities mentions that the platform will “…accommodate manned or unmanned operations”. There’s a chance for the drone decoys to be launched from the smaller weapons bays to permit for the primary weapons bay to be solely devoted for munitions supply. The USAF utilizing ADM-160 Miniature Air Launched Decoy (MALD) on F-16s and B-52s, it’s thought that the MALD might be built-in to the B-21 as nicely. Most lately AGM-160Bs have been seen employed in Ukraine performing as decoys for Storm Shadow cruise missiles.

There are additionally probabilities the doorways are used for one thing else: somebody steered they may be used for upkeep functions, as an example to facilitate the entry to the engines.

Estimated location of the B-21’s radar marked in pink and blue – most probably the pink squares (Photograph by @point_mugu_skies annotated by creator)

Whereas the prototype plane isn’t anticipated to hold an inner radar, a tough estimate of the dimensions and place of the radar may be deduced from the panel gaps. With the B-2 utilising two AN/APQ-181 radars beneath the vanguard on its cheeks, the B-21 is more likely to have its radar, if any, to be in an analogous place. The AN/APQ-181s on the B-2 supplied 21 separate modes for terrain-following and terrain-avoidance, navigation system updates, goal search, location, identification and acquisition and weapon supply.

With the event of lively electronically scanned array (AESA) know-how, the radars onboard the B-21 may have s a lot smaller quantity than the earlier technology that may be discovered on the B-2. Subsequently, it appears pretty affordable for the B-21 to hold its personal radar.

Based mostly on the panel strains photographed, it seems that a two-radar setup like that on the B-2 will probably be determined, both having the antennas positioned contained in the blue or pink bins proven above. Though, contemplating the dimensions of recent AESA radars on fighter platforms, it appears extra possible that the radars will probably be situated within the pink bins because of dimension constraints. One of many pink panels marked above is taken up by an air knowledge probe in the meanwhile, however that is for sensor calibration and can solely be current on the prototype plane. Therefore, it’s a affordable assumption that the present house occupied by the air knowledge probe mount is house for the later instalment of a low likelihood of intercept radar on manufacturing variants.

Lastly, earlier than you freak out about delicate particulars being disclosed and issues like that, please bear in mind the flight was considerably “introduced” (i.e. a number of spotters knew it could occur on Nov. 10 after being cancelled on Nov. 9) and occurred in plain daylight. So there was nothing to cover. Furthermore, as usually highlighted by Northrop Grumman, the B-21’s most vital options are contained in the plane and may’t be seen from the skin…

Stefano D’Urso is a contract journalist and contributor to TheAviationist primarily based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he is additionally finding out to realize a Grasp Diploma in Aerospace Engineering. Digital Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT methods utilized to the world of army operations and present conflicts are amongst his areas of experience.

David Cenciotti is a journalist primarily based in Rome, Italy. He’s the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of many world’s most well-known and skim army aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for main worldwide magazines, together with Air Forces Month-to-month, Fight Plane, and plenty of others, masking aviation, protection, conflict, trade, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown a number of fight planes with totally different air forces. He’s a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Power, a personal pilot and a graduate in Laptop Engineering. He has written 5 books and contributed to many extra ones.

Wonwoo is a pupil journalist and contributor to The Aviationist primarily based in London, United Kingdom. At the moment finding out MEng in Aeronautical Engineering with a eager curiosity in OSINT, aircraft recognizing and plane design. He’s a former Sergeant of the Republic of Korea Military, having served as an artillery Hearth Path Centre Car Radio Operator.

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