The United States has unveiled the B-21 Raider stealth bomber, the world's first sixth-generation aircraft that will soon be delivered to the US Air Force.
"The Northrop Grumman team develops and delivers technology that advances science, looks into the future and brings it to the here and now," said Kathy Warden, chief executive officer of Northrop Grumman which developed the bomber. "The B-21 Raider defines a new era in technology and strengthens America's role of delivering peace through deterrence."
Delivering his remarks at the ceremony in California, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the B-21's edge will last for decades. Austin explained that the B-21 bomber will not be theater-based, it won't need logistical support to hold any target at risk, and the most sophisticated air defence systems will struggle to detect the stealth aircraft.
Austin added that the B-21 will be the most maintainable bomber ever built, designed to deliver both conventional and nuclear munitions with formidable precision.
He said the aircraft will be able to gather intelligence to integrate with allies and partners. The aircraft will be able to support joint and coalition forces across the full spectrum of operations.
In a statement, Northrop Grumman described the B-21 Raider forms the backbone of the future for U.S. air power. Its sixth-generation capabilities include stealth, information advantage and open architecture.
"The B-21 Raider is a testament to America's enduring advantages in ingenuity and innovation. And it's proof of the Department's long-term commitment to building advanced capabilities that will fortify America's ability to deter aggression, today and into the future. Now, strengthening and sustaining U.S. deterrence is at the heart of our National Defence Strategy," said Austin.
"This bomber was built on a foundation of strong, bipartisan support in Congress. And because of that support, we will soon fly this aircraft, test it and then move into production," he added.
The B-21 is capable of networking across the battlespace to multiple systems, and into all domains.
"Supported by a digital ecosystem throughout its lifecycle, the B-21 can quickly evolve through rapid technology upgrades that provide new capabilities to outpace future threats, according to Northrop Grumman's statement," the American multinational aerospace said.
The B-21 Raider is named in honour of the Doolittle Raids of World War II when 80 men, led by Lt. Col. James "Jimmy" Doolittle, and 16 B-25 Mitchell medium bombers set off on a mission that changed the course of World War II.
The designation B-21 recognizes the Raider as the first bomber of the 21st century, the US company adds. (ANI)