On 2 December 2022, Northrop Grumman will unveil its B-21 Raider at the company’s site in Palmdale, California. The B-21 is earmarked to join the nation’s strategic triad as a deterrence asset. Joining the US Air Force’s strategic bomber fleet, the B-21 will be a sixth-generation stealth aircraft with advanced networking capabilities and an open systems architecture. It is intended to provide long range, high survivability, and mission payload flexibility. The B-21 will be capable of using a mix of stand-off and direct attack munitions and is capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear payloads. At the moment, six B-21 Raiders are in various stages of assembly and testing at Northrop Grumman’s plant in Palmdale, California.
Northrop Grumman and the US Air Force have demonstrated the migration of B-21 ground systems data to a cloud environment, which included the development of the B-21 digital twin, that will support B-21 operations and sustainment. Northrop Grumman stated that the B-21 has been designed for rapid upgradeability, and unlike earlier-generation aircraft will not undergo block upgrades. Instead, the company claimed that new technology, capabilities and weapons would be incorporated through agile software upgrades and built-in hardware flexibility.