NATIONAL NEWS

Air Force’s new nuclear stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider, has taken its first test flight

Nov 10, 2023, 10:30 AM | Updated: 10:50 am

FILE - The B-21 Raider stealth bomber is unveiled at Northrop Grumman, Dec. 2, 2022, in Palmdale, C...

FILE - The B-21 Raider stealth bomber is unveiled at Northrop Grumman, Dec. 2, 2022, in Palmdale, Calif. The B-21 Raider has taken it’s first flight, moving the futuristic warplane closer to becoming the nation’s next nuclear weapons stealth bomber. The Raider flew out of Palmdale, Calif., where it has been under testing and development by Northrop Grumman. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The B-21 Raider took its first test flight on Friday, moving the futuristic warplane closer to becoming the nation’s next nuclear weapons stealth bomber.

The Raider flew in Palmdale, California, where it has been under testing and development by Northrop Grumman.

The Air Force is planning to build 100 of the warplanes, which have a flying wing shape much like their predecessor the B-2 Spirit but will incorporate advanced materials, propulsion and stealth technology to make them more survivable in a future conflict. The plane is planned to be produced in variants with and without pilots.

“The B-21 Raider is in flight testing,” Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said.

Such testing is a critical step in the campaign to provide “survivable, long-range, penetrating strike capabilities to deter aggression and strategic attacks against the United States, allies, and partners,” Stefanek said.

Northrop Grumman Corp. is based in Falls Church, Virginia.

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Air Force’s new nuclear stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider, has taken its first test flight