New B-21 Raider Photos Just Released By The U.S. Air Force

B-21 photo
New B-21 photo taken on Jul. 31, 2023 (U.S. Air Force photo)

The images were released during Gen. Brown’s keynote speech at the 2023 Air, Space & Cyber Conference.

The U.S. Air Force released today two new photos of the B-21 Raider bomber, including one from a previously unseen angle outside the hangar. The images were released during the keynote speech of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. at the 2023 Air, Space & Cyber Conference, where he highlighted the B-21 Raider as an example of successful design implementation for the Air Force under “Action Order D” of his goal to Accelerate Change.

Gen. Brown’s “Accelerate Change or Lose” strategic approach, released in 2020, includes four action orders: Airmen, Bureaucracy, Competition and Design Implementation. The latter, cited today by Gen. Brown, says the Air Force needs to know how to adapt to changes and must be ready for future budget constraints by developing an affordable, analytically defensible and Congressionally-supported force structure.

The photos show the Raider getting ready for the next phases of testing, with Edwards Air Force Base’s ED markings on the main landing gear doors, an air data probe and some black patches that could be either sensors or fiducial markers for flight testing. Gen. Thomas A. Bussiere, Commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command, said that engine runs are currently in progress at Northrop Grumman’s facilities at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, with the first flight expected by the end of calendar year 2023.

The B-21 Raider will be the backbone of the bomber fleet and will incrementally replace the B-1 and B-2 bombers as sufficient numbers of B-21s are available. The state-of-the-art bomber will provide survivable, long-range, penetrating strike capabilities to deter aggression and protect the United States, allies, and partners. The B-21 first flight is anticipated to take place in calendar year 2023. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The new photos also offer for the first time a glimpse of the flight control surfaces, with three sets distributed along the wing’s trailing edge. The three-quarter view shows a lateral profile very similar to the B-2 Spirit, which will be replaced by the Raider. Other markings, like the no step writings, ejection seat cutouts and danger stencils, have also been added.

About Stefano D'Urso
Stefano D'Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he's also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.