U.S.A.F. Awards Northrop Advance Procurement Funds to Build B-21 Stealth Bomber's First Lot

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  • 10:12 AM, April 7, 2022
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U.S.A.F. Awards Northrop Advance Procurement Funds to Build B-21 Stealth Bomber's First Lot
B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber

The U.S. Air Force awarded $108 million to Northrop Grumman for advance procurement to support the B-21 Raider program.

Advance procurement funds will directly support the acquisition of long lead items necessary to build the first lot of production B-21 aircraft. The B-21 Raider will be a component of a larger family of systems for conventional Long-Range Strike, including Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, electronic attack, communication and other capabilities. It will be nuclear capable and designed to accommodate manned or unmanned operations.

The B-21 test aircraft currently being manufactured under the Engineering and Manufacturing Development contract with Northrop Grumman are being built on the same production line, using the same tooling, processes and technicians to build the production aircraft.

The first B-21 flight test aircraft recently entered loads calibration to undergo verification and validation testing of its structural design prior to flight. After loads calibration, further integration and ground testing will inform the program schedule and flight readiness.

Progress continues across all elements of the B-21 program. The fiscal year 2022 Defense Appropriations Act provided funding for five new military construction projects to stand-up the B-21 mission at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, the Raider’s first main operating base. Construction of a low observable maintenance hangar, the first of its kind on the 80-year-old conventional bomber base, is already underway.

An environmental impact statement is set to begin this year to inform final decisions on the second and third main operating bases to bed-down the full B-21 fleet. As announced by the Secretary of the Air Force in 2019, preferred locations for the second and third B-21 main operating bases are Whiteman AFB, Missouri, and Dyess AFB, Texas, respectively.

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