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The Department of Defense is developing a new long-range bomber aircraft, the B-21 Raider (previously known as LRS -B), and proposes to acquire at least 100 of them. B-21s would initially replace the fleets of B-1 and B-2 bombers,and could possibly replace B-52s in the future.
B-21 development was highly classified until the summer of 2015, when the Air Force revealed initial details of the aircraft and the program.
Although technical specifications and other data remain out of public view, many details of the budget, acquisition strategy, procurement
quantities, and other aspects of the B-21 program are now in the public arena.
The Administration’s FY2019 budget request include d$2.31billion for further development of the B-21. As passed, the FY2019 defense appropriations bill funded the program at $2.28 billion.
As a large defense program that involves issues of strategic and nuclear policy ,as well as
substantial expenditures, the B-21 is likely to be subject to significant congressional interest .
As a result, the initial B - 21 aircraft can be augmented more easily as advanced technologies are developed; it also means that what might otherwise be expensive development of advanced sensors and/or other subsystems may be deferred and /or competed independent of the aircraft itself. This comports with earlier comments about the possibility of B - 21 being part of a family of systems , and suggests that some relevant capabilities may be under development in other budget lines.
The B - 21 bomber is “progress ing really well,” Global Strike Command chief Gen. Robin Rand told reporters ... it looks like “in the mid - 2020s, we’ll have the first one at one of our bases,” with initial operating capability “in the late ‘20s” . He reiterated his “strong recommendation” that USAF buy “at least 100” of the bombers and “make sure we get to that [number] by the late ‘30s.” At such a rate, production would be around five per year.