B-21 Raider (RAAF F-111 replacement?) unveiled

Northrop Grumman and the US Air Force today unveiled the B-21 Raider.

CAPTION: B-21 Raider unveiled 2 December 2022. Official photo.

B-21 Raider is said to form the backbone of the future for US air power, leading a powerful family of systems that will deliver a new era of capability and flexibility through advanced integration of data, sensors and weapons.

Its sixth-generation capabilities include stealth, information advantage and open architecture.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the B-21 Raider was testament to America’s enduring advantages in ingenuity and innovation.

“It’s proof of the department’s long-term commitment to building advanced capabilities that will fortify America’s ability to deter aggression, today and into the future,” he said.

“Now, strengthening and sustaining US deterrence is at the heart of our National Defense Strategy.

“This bomber was built on a foundation of strong, bipartisan support in Congress and, because of that support, we will soon fly this aircraft, test it and then move into production.”

B-21 will be capable of networking across the battlespace to multiple systems, and into all domains.

Supported by a digital ecosystem throughout its lifecycle, the B-21 should quickly evolve through rapid technology upgrades that provide new capabilities to outpace future threats.

Tom Jones, Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems, said that with the B-21, the US Air Force would be able to deter or defeat threats anywhere in the world.

“B-21 exemplifies how Northrop Grumman is leading the industry in digital transformation and digital engineering, ultimately delivering more value to our customers.”

Designation B-21 recognises the new aircraft as the first bomber of the 21st century while the ‘Raider’ name is in honour of the Doolittle Raids of World War II when 80 men, led by Lieutenant Colonel James ‘Jimmy’ Doolittle, and 16 B-25 Mitchell medium bombers set off on a mission that changed the course of World War II.


10 key facts about B-21 Raider according to Northrop Grumman

Sixth Generation. The B-21 Raider benefits from more than three decades of strike and stealth technology. It is the next evolution of the Air Force strategic bomber fleet. Developed with the next generation of stealth technology, advanced networking capabilities and an open systems architecture, the B-21 is optimized for the high-end threat environment. It will play a critical role in helping the Air Force meet its most complex missions.

Stealth. Northrop Grumman is continuously advancing technology, employing new manufacturing techniques and materials to ensure the B-21 will defeat the anti-access, area-denial systems it will face.

Backbone of the Fleet. The B-21 Raider forms the backbone of the future for U.S. air power. The B-21 will deliver a new era of capability and flexibility through advanced integration of data, sensors and weapons. Capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear payloads, the B-21 will be one of the most effective aircraft in the sky, with the ability to use a broad mix of stand-off and direct attack munitions.

A Digital Bomber. The B-21 is a digital bomber. Northrop Grumman uses agile software development, advanced manufacturing techniques and digital engineering tools to help mitigate production risk on the B-21 program and enable modern sustainment practices. Six B-21 Raiders are in various stages of final assembly and test at Northrop Grumman’s plant in Palmdale, California.

Cloud Technology. Northrop Grumman and the Air Force successfully demonstrated the migration of B-21 ground systems data to a cloud environment. This demonstration included the development, deployment and test of B-21 data, including the B-21 digital twin, that will support B-21 operations and sustainment. This robust cloud-based digital infrastructure will result in a more maintainable and sustainable aircraft with lower-cost infrastructure.

Open Architecture. To meet the evolving threat environment, the B-21 has been designed from day one for rapid upgradeability. Unlike earlier generation aircraft, the B-21 will not undergo block upgrades. New technology, capabilities and weapons will be seamlessly incorporated through agile software upgrades and built-in hardware flexibility. This will ensure the B-21 Raider can continuously meet the evolving threat head on for decades to come.

A National Team. Since contract award in 2015, Northrop Grumman has assembled a nationwide team to design, test and build the world’s most advanced strike aircraft. The B-21 team includes more than 8000 people from Northrop Grumman, industry partners and the Air Force. The team consists of more than 400 suppliers across 40 states.

Sustainment. Long-term operations and sustainment affordability has been a B-21 program priority from the start. In partnership with the Air Force, our team has made maintainability an equally important requirement to stealth performance to ensure we’re driving more affordable, predictable operations and sustainment outcomes.

Global Reach. The B-21 Raider will be the backbone of the U.S. bomber fleet and pivotal to supporting our nation’s strategic deterrence strategy. In addition to its advanced long-range precision strike capabilities that will afford combatant commanders the ability to hold any target, anywhere in the world at risk, it has also been designed as the lead component of a larger family of systems that will deliver intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, electronic attack and multi-domain networking capabilities. In a dynamic global security environment, the B-21 will provide the flexibility and deterrence critical to the security of the US and our allies.






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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

16 thoughts on “B-21 Raider (RAAF F-111 replacement?) unveiled

  • 08/12/2022 at 1:28 pm

    The B21 Raider I think would be far too expensive to maintain.
    Why buy them anyway when the USA
    Have them deployed?
    24 F15 X with long range strike weapons would be a good deterent.
    Or even a new pourpose built Juan Carlos aircraft carrier 24 F35b for forward force projection and 3ore AWD destroyers to create the taskforce .to match the two Amphibious helicopter landing ships.

  • 04/12/2022 at 11:26 am

    Anyone care to explain WHY Australia should be planning to attack to our largest Trading partner and our regional Nuclear Super power?
    WHY are we planning to ‘Do a Ukraine’? WHY is this in Australia’s interest?

    Oh, now I remember. We are the Yanks lap dog, incapable of an ‘Australia First’ Foreign Policy.

    Neutrality for Australia



    • 04/12/2022 at 4:31 pm

      You may not have noticed, ‘Yankee Go Home’, but China is a heartless bully, South China Sea, trade restrictions, telling other countries what to do, iron fist domestically, Corona Virus to to get ride of their older generation, then deliberately letting it go worldwide.
      Bullies must be stood up to or be a slave.
      But then again we all know you wrote your comment from China, for China…is that a knock on my door?

      • 04/12/2022 at 5:29 pm

        Cheers Steve. Thanks for your input.

        There is a lot to unpack from all that, so how about ‘quote’ and ‘reply’?

        ” China is a heartless bully”. I can remember Australian Forces killing Iraqi’s, Afghans, Syrians and Indonesians in their own Countries, but I can’t think of the Chinese killing anyone but their own. Can you be more specific?

        ”South China Sea”. Yeah, it THEIR Sea, it’s in the name. South CHINA Sea. It’s THEIR coastline and THEIR Sea.
        It’s the R.A.N, U.S.N., R.N., J.S.D.F. and more, sailing up and down 20 k’s off their Shore with War Ships full of weapons.
        I don’t know what YOU are complaining about!

        ” trade restrictions”. Yeah you’ve got that completely arse about face.
        It’s the U.S.A. with all the trade restrictions, sanctions and import tax’s on Chinese goods.
        The ONLY Chinese trade restrictions are on some dodgy U.S. food colouring.

        ”telling other countries what to do”. I’ll just state.
        China has 2 Overseas Military Bases,
        U.S.A. has 800+ Overseas Military Bases.
        You work it out.

        ”iron fist domestically”. Who told you that? Western media?
        The C.C.P. raised 700 Million people out of poverty.
        They are doing very nicely thank you, with a vibrant economy and society, pretty girls, nice phones.
        Not eating Meat Pies and watching ‘Neighbours’, doesn’t mean you need rescuing from an Authoritarian Regime.
        Live and let Live!

        ”Corona Virus to to get ride of their older generation”. Yeah, we’ll just leave that one up there for all to enjoy.
        One more time ! ”Corona Virus to to get ride of their older generation”
        Steve, words escape me!

        ”then deliberately letting it go worldwide.” Ditto.

        ”Bullies must be stood up to or be a slave”. At last, you’ve nailed it Steve!!
        Turns out. WE are the Slaves.
        Remember George W,’s ”You’re Either With us, or against us” speech?
        So we became a U.S. ”Ally”, rather than a U.S. ”Enemy”, because there is NO third choice.

        Now we have Foreign troops permanently based here, Nuclear Bombers rotate here, we kill people all around the World that have no issue with us, and Australia is on Nuclear Targeting lists.
        All because we didn’t stand up to a Bully.

        So cheers Steve, it looks like we CAN agree on something!

        Neutrality for Australia.

        YANKEE GO HOME !!!


        • 07/12/2022 at 4:25 pm

          What BS.
          China has killed Indian, Vietnamese and Korean.

          As for trade iron, wine, cotton and beef have nothing to do with food colour.

          It was the British that called it the South China sea, it is not theirs it belongs to Vietnam, Philippines and others. China never had control of it.

          What about Chinese 14 point declaration Australia need to follow. What about threats from China to nuke Australia. Actions of a bully.

          The only permanent troops here are Singapores.

    • 06/12/2022 at 4:15 pm

      Commies be commies and they are a military threat to the entire Pacific, even the Chinese admit that.

  • 04/12/2022 at 10:12 am

    Labor has already started its degradation and dismantling of the ADF. The IFV has now been put on hold and other projects look to suffer the same fate. As Labor are puppets of China, a capability of this mangnitute and ability will never be on the cards (as it will undermine Chinas influence in SE Asia) until a liberal government is put back into power.

    • 04/12/2022 at 4:06 pm

      Strongly tend to agree; Labor are far too close to China.
      They have already cancelled the MQ-9B armed drone project; reduced then stalled on the new Infantry Fighting Vehicle; now watch them go slow on the new sub and make inexhaustible excuses against the B-21.
      We should have started National Service 5 years ago; they honestly have no idea, will seemingly do all that they can to keep us armed to an absolutely minimal level.
      They are not and never have been friends of the ADF.
      Trust this lot? No Way!

      • 04/12/2022 at 7:57 pm

        Reality to Blue Leader. Reality to Blue Leader. Over.

        QUOTE ”We should have started National Service 5 years ago; they honestly have no idea”.

        You’re blaming Labor now for what the Lib’s did or didn’t do in 2017?
        In the middle of 9 years of Liberal Government?

        Mate, Albo is good, but he doesn’t have a time machine. Keep a few facts in your sprays.

        DUTY FIRST.


    • 05/12/2022 at 10:28 am

      Hey Michael please quote where you get your info from because chinas global times doesn’t count. My dad lived in a communist country. So I know second hand what communism is. I dare you to go and say something bad in China. Also before you slag off the United States just remember who saved our arse in WW2.

      • 05/12/2022 at 10:49 am

        History tells us the Japanese had NO PLANS to invade Australia, didn’t happen and it wasn’t going to happen.
        You also forgot the Chinese were our Allies against the Japanese, they WERE invaded, and they took a shit load more casualties than we ever did.

        Thanks for playing !!

        Neutrality for Australia.

        YANKEE GO HOME !!!


        • 05/12/2022 at 5:58 pm

          Michael. That’s right China we’re on our side and the USA helped China and also Russia in the Second World War. As you have stated history show Japan weren’t going to invade. But I am pretty sure the people of Australia didn’t know the plans of the Japanese military in the Second World War. We can both agree on one thing. Australia must be able to defend itself.

          • 09/12/2022 at 1:21 pm

            I’m a little confused with your logic Garry.

            You agree Japan had no plans to invade Australia.
            You agree Australian Military Intelligence didn’t know shit from clay.
            You agree China was our Ally.

            So what was your comment about? That you don’t like Communism?
            You live in Australia, why do you care?

            Neutrality for Australia.

            YANKEE GO HOME !!!


        • 07/12/2022 at 4:38 pm

          History also tells us, Japan was Allie in ww1.

          The old myth Japan did not have plans to invade Australia. PNG was Australian territory at the time. No matter how you look at it Japan planned to invade Australia.

          • 09/12/2022 at 1:34 pm

            G’day Tom. Thanks for playing.

            Congrats on Googling Japans status in WW1.

            You have to raise your game and understand the difference between Australia proper and Australian territories.

            P.N.G. was NEVER part of Australia, it was a territory and that’s why it’s now an independent Nation.

            Are you saying Australian Antarctic Territory is Australia?

            You are factually wrong to claim Japan planned to invade Australia.
            It is not an ”old myth Japan did not have plans to invade Australia”. It’s the truth.

            Neutrality for Australia.

            YANKEE GO HOME !!!


  • 04/12/2022 at 10:02 am

    China said No so as its a Labor Government we’ll be going with the Sopwith Camel instead.


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