The B-21 Raider Adopted Low Risk Design Approach Modeled On F-117 Nighthawk

B-21 artwork


B-21 artwork
An art work reveals a B-21 in flight (Picture credit score: The Aviationist)

Using mature subsystems within the new platform was prioritized in order that this system may concentrate on making use of new know-how.

A very interesting story was revealed a few days in the past by Aviation Week, discussing a number of the design selections of the B-21 Raider stealth bomber and including few extra particulars. The article, written by world-renowned stealth professional Invoice Sweetman, can also be accompanied by a detailed interactive graphics with all of the identified options of the bomber.

New images of the B-21 Raider sixth era stealth bomber have been launched through the 2023 Air, House & Cyber Convention, displaying the plane in a way more superior state of completion as engine runs are already in progress at Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale facility. Many new details emerged from these photos, ranging from a extra correct estimate of the size of the B-21, with a wingspan estimated at 132 ft in contrast with the B-2’s 172 ft.

The planform, one of many key elements of the plane nonetheless unsure, was not but unveiled within the images. Nevertheless, Aviation Week mentions that the planform was depicted in a video that accompanied a presentation by Gen. Duke Richardson, commander of the U.S. Air Power Materiel Command, at the 2023 ASC Conference.

The B-21, though smaller, closely resembles the B-2 bomber it is going to exchange and its planform is influenced by the necessity to accommodate key options of the design, resembling advanced inlets and exhausts to include IR and radar signature and a big weapon bay throughout the flying-wing profile, all whereas staying inside a most thickness-to-chord ratio appropriate with environment friendly flight above Mach 0.8. Proper now, the planform seems much like the B-2’s authentic one, earlier than it needed to be modified to enhance controllability.

A B-21 Raider at Palmdale. (Picture credit score: USAF)

Just like the B-2, the B-21 makes use of the “flying saucer” design strategy, initially proposed by Skunk Works founder Clarence “Kelly” Johnson. In a paper he wrote in 1975, Johnson says “a form much like alien craft, with a pointy edge and no protuberances, has a really low radar cross-section with none anti-radar therapy.” An advanced profile based mostly on this strategy is seen on the Raider, along with some options inherited from the X-47B UCAV.

Actually, in keeping with Aviation Week, the design of the B-21 Raider signifies a conservative strategy by the U.S. Air Power’s Fast Capabilities Workplace, decreasing danger through the use of mature subsystems in a brand new platform in order that this system can concentrate on making use of new know-how. An identical strategy was used for the design of the F-117 Nighthawk.

An instance of using mature subsystems is the design of the inlets, which Aviation Week says is an in depth match to unclassified imagery from Pratt & Whitney displays relationship again to the early 2010s. The identical could possibly be mentioned for the engine, as Pratt & Whitney mentioned the PW9000 turbofan, based mostly on the core of the PW1000G business engine mated to a direct-drive fan with a 4:1 bypass ratio, as a future bomber powerplant in 2010 and Aviation Week says the B-21’s center-body part and inlets match those that might be required by a medium-bypass engine.

Northrop Grumman additionally used, the place attainable, business parts and programs, decreasing prices and profiting from long-lasting business provide networks, in keeping with Doug Younger, the corporate’s vice chairman and common supervisor for strike programs. The digital warfare system of the B-21 is intently associated to a different mature system, the F-35’s ASQ-239.

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


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