B-21 production is a go, Pentagon says
Defense undersecretary confirms Northrop Grumman has approval to start making non-test variants of the stealth bomber.
Northrop Grumman has the greenlight to begin producing the Pentagon’s newest bomber.
“Production of the B-21 ‘Raider’ stealth bomber is moving forward. This past fall, based on the results of ground and flight tests and the team’s mature plans for manufacturing, I gave the go-ahead to begin producing B-21s at a low rate,” William LaPlante, defense undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, said in a Monday evening statement. “One of the key attributes of this program has been designing for production from the start – and at scale – to provide a credible deterrent to adversaries. If you don’t produce and field to warfighters at scale, the capability doesn’t really matter.”
The start of B-21 production was first reported by Bloomberg.
The stealth bomber, which made its first flight in November, had to fly in order for Northrop to receive the low-rate initial production contract for the B-21. The company will hold its earnings call for the final quarter of 2023 on Thursday and likely give updates about the program for investors.
Just last week, the Air Force confirmed that one of its six B-21 test aircraft flew a test sortie from Edwards Air Force Base, the bomber’s second publicly acknowledged flight.
The aircraft will replace the B-1B Lancer and B-2 Spirit and is expected to enter service in the mid-2020s. The Air Force plans to buy at least 100.