Northrop Grumman and the US Air Force Introduce the B-21 Raider, the World's First Sixth-Generation Aircraft

Palmdale, Calif. December 2, 2022 Photo(s): By Northrop Grumman
Northrop Grumman and the US Air Force introduce the B-21 Raider, the world’s first sixth-generation aircraft.

Northrop Grumman Corporation and the US Air Force unveiled the B-21 Raider to the world today. The B-21 joins the nuclear triad as a visible and flexible deterrent designed for the US Air Force to meet its most complex missions.

“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, chair, chief executive officer and president, Northrop Grumman. “The B-21 Raider defines a new era in technology and strengthens America’s role of delivering peace through deterrence.”

The B-21 Raider forms the backbone of the future for US air power, leading a powerful family of systems that deliver a new era of capability and flexibility through advanced integration of data, sensors and weapons. 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 US deterrence is at the heart of our National Defense Strategy,” said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III. “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.”

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.

“With the B-21, the US Air Force will be able to deter or defeat threats anywhere in the world,” said Tom Jones, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems. “The B-21 exemplifies how Northrop Grumman is leading the industry in digital transformation and digital engineering, ultimately delivering more value to our customers.”

The B-21 Raider is named in honor 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.