Six B-21s in Production

Military aircraft - Post cold war aircraft, including for example B-2, Gripen, F-18E/F Super Hornet, Rafale, and Typhoon.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post10 Feb 2022, 01:23

Six B-21s in Production, Fuel Control Software Already Tested
Feb. 9, 2022 | By Greg Hadley

The B-21 Raider continues to be a “model” program for the Air Force, with six of the new bombers currently in production and some of its software already validated through digital testing, a top general at Air Force Global Strike Command said Feb. 9.

Speaking at the 2022 Nuclear Deterrence Summit, Maj. Gen. Jason R. Armagost said the new stealth bomber will likely fly in 2022, echoing previous predictions by other Air Force officials.

“The B-21, going into the future, is going to be our penetrating, get inside the anti-access, area of denial, dual-capable aircraft,” said Armagost, the director of strategic plans, programs, and requirements at AFGSC. “There are now six of those in existence. The rollout will probably be some time this year. I’m not at liberty to give the likely date of that, but [it will be] quickly followed by first flight.”

In September 2021, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall stated that five B-21s were in production. In the past few weeks, another started, Armagost confirmed to Air Force Magazine.

The development of the B-21 has been aided by the Air Force’s embrace of digital technologies to speed up the process, Armagost added.

“We are capitalizing on the revolution in digital—models-based systems engineering, open mission systems architecture software,” Armagost said. “As an example, the software for the fuel control system, which is a pretty complex thing, is completely done on an aircraft that hasn’t even flown yet as a test article, because of how we’re able to do models-based systems engineering. And they actually built a fuel systems model and tested the software, and the software is ready to go.”

It’s not the first time digital engineering has played a role in the modernization of the Air Force’s bomber fleet. Late last year, Rolls-Royce North America President and CEO Tom Bell said the company had digitally “built” a B-52’s wing with the company’s F130 engines installed to demonstrate its advantages and win the contract for the B-52 Commercial Engine Replacement Program.

Armagost noted that digital technologies have also been integrated into the B-21’s future sustainment.

“One of the things that I’m most excited about is the requirements for new systems that haven’t even flown … yet. The fact that there’s a modernization effort built into those already, right?” Armagost said. “So in the B-21, for example, there’s technologies that are explored that we can risk-reduce through other platforms, potentially, and integrate ahead of the aircraft even flying. And so it’s kind of an exciting way to get back to that models-based systems engineering [that] has kind of opened up some possibilities on sustainment, interacting with the environment in ways that are really useful to the future systems.”

At the moment, the development of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent to replace the Minuteman III system “is the No. 1 program in the Air Force,” Armagost said. But the B-21 is right up there with it, he added.

Armagost’s counterpart in the Navy, Vice Admiral Johnny Wolfe, said during the panel discussion that his service is “line to line” with its nuclear modernization efforts, with new systems scheduled to hit the field just as the old ones hit the end of their service lives. Even though the Air Force isn’t quite there in its nuclear modernization plans, Armagost said the service is working to smoothly transition from one capability to the next over time.

“The transition is how we build in the flexibility within the existing capabilities to have an on-ramp that proves the viability of the oncoming system,” Armagost said. “ … Obviously, you know, when things happen or sustainment challenges arise, it can affect that, but we’re pretty comfortable right now with how we’ve planned for that, and how that on-ramp, off-ramp looks across those systems.”

The nuclear modernization effort, however, does face one potentially significant hurdle, particularly for missiles such as the GBSD and the Long Range Standoff Weapon: the production of plutonium “pits” that go in the center of nuclear warheads.

The National Nuclear Security Administration had set a goal of producing 30 pits per year by 2026 and 80 by 2030. But, “I think NNSA will readily admit they’re not going to make that requirement,” Wolfe said.

“We’re going to have to have some really tough discussions about, if we can’t get the requisite number of pits that we need for warheads in the future … at some point, we’re going to have a tough discussion about how many pits can we reuse? And if we reuse those, what does that mean to the design?” Wolfe said. Armagost added that “we have multiple paths for warheads within systems.”


https://www.airforcemag.com/six-b-21s-i ... dy-tested/
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Unread post10 Feb 2022, 06:03

Nice to see The Raider come along nicely :D, I think that the Test platform he is talking about is the RQ-180 (it being the same planform), can't wait to see the reveal
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Corsair1963

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Unread post10 Feb 2022, 06:31

I would like to see a Tanker Version of the B-21 Stealth Bomber. This would push up numbers and lower the unit price. Maybe even to a point, that we could export some of the bombers to key allies!
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Unread post10 Feb 2022, 18:17

I think That a tanker variant is unlikely it being too costly for the volume of fuel that it would bring to the battle, as for the exports, I'm willing to bet that UK will buy some even it's just to recover some of the capacity it has lost with the V-bombers :D :D and to scare the hell out of argentinians ...
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Unread post11 Feb 2022, 13:01

Corsair1963 wrote:I would like to see a Tanker Version of the B-21 Stealth Bomber. This would push up numbers and lower the unit price. Maybe even to a point, that we could export some of the bombers to key allies!


Because the KC-46 isn't expensive enough, right?
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b52buff

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Unread post12 Feb 2022, 05:26

At around 200m$ a pop compared to 600m$ this is not even close ....plus IMHO, i think it would be a sacrilege to do a tanker variant of such an advanced plane (it would surely be stealthier than the F35 so why would you refuel a less stealthy plane with a stealthier plane :| )
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Unread post03 Mar 2022, 21:45

March 3, 2022 | By John A. Tirpak
The first B-21 expected to fly is largely assembled and has moved to a calibration facility, in one of the last steps before powering systems and making final checks ahead of first flight, Rapid Capabilities Office Director Randall Walden reported.

In a sidebar at the AFA Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., Walden noted that “we’ve taken the first one out” of the production facility.

“It’s got landing gear. … It’s got wheels on it … It’s got the wings on it. It really looks like a bomber,” Walden said. Six B-21s are now under construction at Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale facility, he said.

https://www.airforcemag.com/first-b-21- ... libration/
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Unread post15 Apr 2022, 01:02

This is a fun little article...

https://breakingdefense.com/2022/04/as- ... s-probing/
Sometimes, unusual things happen. A couple months ago, for instance, a man whose automobile had run out of fuel had tried to scale Plant 42’s fence in the hopes of finding a gas station.

“He saw this double layered, anti-terrorism force protection fence line with barbed wire and said, ‘Gee, if there’s a double layered fence line with barbed wire, there must be a gas station on the other side of that. So let’s climb over the fence. Because that’s where we’ll find a gas station,’” he said. “At least that was his story when our defenders caught him.”
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Unread post21 May 2022, 23:39

B-21 Raider First Flight Now Postponed to 2023

May 20, 2022

Without explanation, the Air Force now says the first B-21 bomber will not make its first flight until 2023, pushing back at least six months from the previously expected timetable.

“Recently, the Air Force released a new estimate for first flight; projected for next year, 2023,” a service spokeswoman said May 20. The service said it’s trying to be as “transparent” as it can be about the project, and “this estimate reflects the current status of the program.” She did not attribute the delay to any particular cause. Many other high-profile programs, such as Boeing’s T-7A trainer, have recently reported delays due to supply chain issues and labor shortages.

The B-21 “remains within its acquisition program baseline for cost, schedule, and performance established at Milestone B award, which was based on an independent government estimate for the program,” the spokeswoman said.

https://www.airforcemag.com/b-21-raider ... d-to-2023/

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jessmo112

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Unread post22 May 2022, 00:02

charlielima223 wrote:This is a fun little article...

https://breakingdefense.com/2022/04/as- ... s-probing/
Sometimes, unusual things happen. A couple months ago, for instance, a man whose automobile had run out of fuel had tried to scale Plant 42’s fence in the hopes of finding a gas station.

“He saw this double layered, anti-terrorism force protection fence line with barbed wire and said, ‘Gee, if there’s a double layered fence line with barbed wire, there must be a gas station on the other side of that. So let’s climb over the fence. Because that’s where we’ll find a gas station,’” he said. “At least that was his story when our defenders caught him.”


If I can hazard a guess, was he a Chinese National?

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