On December 2, the Pentagon unveiled its first new B-21 Raider nuclear stealth bomber in Palmdale, California. 

The B-21 Raider is the country’s first new bomber in over 30 years ​​since the B-2 Spirit in 1988. The plane will play a crucial role in the U.S. effort to confront China’s military buildup once it enters service around 2027.

CNN News cited Northrop Grumman’s press release reporting that the sixth-generation aircraft will enable the Air Force to “penetrate the toughest defenses for precision strikes anywhere in the world.”

According to the release, six bombers are recently in “various stages of final assembly” in California.

Almost every aspect of the B-21 Raider is classified. 

Lloyd Austin, the defense secretary, said, “Fifty years of advances in low-observable technology have gone into this aircraft. Even the most sophisticated air defense systems will struggle to detect a B-21 in the sky.”

According to The Guardian News, information disclosed to the public included the plane’s anticipated cost ($700 million), engine manufacturer (Pratt & Whitney), and payload (conventional and nuclear). Although the Pentagon acknowledged that it would be “optionally crewed” and wanted 100 of them, the maximum speed, ceiling, and range were all classified.

To compete with China’s quick military modernization, the Pentagon is updating all three components of its nuclear triad, including silo-launched nuclear ballistic missiles and submarine-launched warheads.

The Pentagon said in its annual China report last week that if China keeps building nuclear weapons at the current pace, it could have 1,500 nuclear warheads by 2035. The report added that China’s gains in hypersonic missiles, cyber warfare, and space capabilities represent “the most consequential and systemic challenge to U.S. national security and the free and open international system.”

Deborah Lee James, the Air Force secretary when the Raider contract was announced in 2015, stated, “We needed a new bomber for the 21st Century that would allow us to take on much more complicated threats.”

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