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Northrop Grumman’s future B-21 Raider stealth bomber for the US, after appearing several times in photos AirAir The force has just completed its first flight. It could not escape the aeronautical community and the images of this flight, as it reached Edwards Base in California (United States), are already dissected by experts to learn more about the capabilities and characteristics of the bomber. To set the tone, even before observingaeronefaeronefcurrent prototype PortePorte Before the name on its gear hatch Cerberusi.e. the troublesome Cerberus, chienchien Hades, the underworld that prevents the dead from returning to life in Greek mythology. During this flight, we can see the presence of a long cable at the back undercarriageundercarriage, This cable allows you to pull what we call Who?Who? leak. It collects “static” atmospheric measurements of flight conditions. The data recovered is connected to a large probe collecting “dynamic” data located on the front left of the device. This data, to which is added data collected by many others sensorsensorMakes it possible to accurately evaluate the behavior of the aircraft during flight and check whether its instruments are correctly calibrated.

In terms of appearance, the B-21 has the air of the B-2, with a longer and flat profile to ensure maximum secretlysecretly, The rear of the plane is distinct, the tip of its cell resembling a diamond. The aircraft appears small, with a wingspan estimated to be around 45 metres. B-2 measures approximately 52.5 metres. His NezNez Which meets the leading edge of the wing and is shaped like a duckbill. Due to the low position of the side windows, it gives it an aggressive air that matches the image one might have of such a device.

In this video posted on X (formerly Twitter) we can see the B-21 taking off and landing. There is also an F-16 with him. © Matt Hartman @ShorealoneFilms

interesting ears

But experts or enlightened amateurs will especially want to know what is the purpose of the two strange horns or pointed ears located on either side of the passenger compartment. This unique configuration has given rise to much speculation since the first public images of the B-21 were released. These will not be data sensors for flight tests, but rather retractable wings that will be used to optimize air flow over the fuselage and fan inlets. This will ensure good air supply to the reactors during the takeoff and landing phases. To ensure maximum secrecy, it should be noted that the air entrances to the reactors are quite thin, like gills. This feature, although it reduces the radar signature, presents a disadvantage in ensuring the proper functioning of the engines during these phases, hence the presence of these “pointed ears”. Still at engine level, given that the engines are buried deep in the fuselage to increase stealth, it is still impossible to know how many there are and what type they are. They are certainly smaller than the B-2 and there may even be four of them.

carry limited weapons

What also attracted a lot of attention was the B-21’s belly. Numerous photographs taken on the ground by amateurs give an accurate idea of ​​its ammunition hold. Given the size of the B-21, it is already estimated that its payload capacity is halved compared to the B-2. Thus, the bomber will be limited to carrying one GBU-57A/B type missile. giant armor penetrator (mop). On the other hand, this weapons bay will definitely be modular to carry various modern weapon systems and especially drones to ensure collaborative combat operations. The question is whether the hatches visible near the hold are used to carry other defensive weapons such as rockets, or whether they are access only for maintenance. As far as on-board operational sensors are concerned, what we see from the aircraft does not allow us to know more and it must be emphasized that it Cerberus Still only a prototype.

The US Air Force unveiled its future nuclear stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider

article from Sylvain BigetSylvain BigetPublished on 13 March 2023

In the pictures, B-21 Raider has appeared with its ghostly appearance. We see a design and a coating that allows its radar signature to be erased as much as possible for unprecedented privacy. The US Air Force’s future nuclear-capable bomber is also expected to have record range.

Here are the first real images revealing the US Air Force’s future nuclear stealth bomber. It will be called the B-21 Raider and although very little was known about it, we already know its estimated cost of $692 million. In the photos released, we can see a detailed shot providing some information on the design of this B-21. a zoom on this canopycanopy It also shows that the plane will be flown. In terms of its design, we can only see common features with the B-2 Spirit bomber, but with lines that will give the aircraft greater stealth.

Where the B-21 stands out is its composite coating ColourColour white. It will be stronger than the B-2 and will have increased stealth by better absorbing radar waves. The shape of the cockpit also helps reduce radar signature and we noticed no roughness between the canopy and cabin. Everything seems seamless with the impression that thin adhesive strips have been stuck on to eliminate any presence of joints or protruding elements. From the front, we barely notice the engine air intakes that look like gills extending from the wing.

clear radar signature

In these photos, it is clearly visible that the aircraft manufacturer Northrop Grumman sought to create a very smooth wing profile, hiding various elements of the bomber, whether the engine, cabin and moving elements. Thus, at the rear, as far as the B-2 Spirit is concerned, if there is no wing, on the other hand, the flying wing surface appears to be allareallare Enough and we don’t get the distinctive W-shaped trailing edge of current bombers.

As far as the characteristics of the strategic bomber are concerned, there is still very little information. It is believed to have unprecedented autonomy, being able to carry out long-range missions from US territory without the need to land at a forward base or refuel in flight. Apart from its function as a bomber to carry out long-range strikes, it can also be used for surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. It will also be equipped with electronic attack capabilities. Another feature of the bomber will be that it can be easily operated and developed autonomously in drone mode. I am aI am a Control. It will also be able to serve as a control platform for a swarm of drones. The aircraft should make its first flight this year and the US Air Force plans to integrate it into its fleet from 2027. A minimum of 100 examples can be ordered. It should replace the B-1B Lancer and B-2 SoulSoul By 2040. It would also be able to retire the venerable B-52 by 2050.

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