Second known test flight of B-21 confirmed by US Air Force
The US Air Force (USAF) has confirmed the second known test flight of a Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider stealth bomber from Edwards Air Force base on 17 January.
The confirmation to several media sources came after enthusiasts noted on radars the appearance of a chase plane which had also been used during the first test flight of a B-21 in November last year.
In statements to the press, USAF officials refused to disclose the number of test flights that have taken place or any future plans for the bomber.
According to USAF: “Flight testing is a critical step in the test campaign managed by the Air Force Test and Test Wing’s B-21 Combined Test Force to provide survivable, long-range, penetrating strike capabilities to deter aggression and strategic attacks against the United States, allies and partners.”
Shephard Defence Insight noted that the aircraft would succeed the B-1 and B-2 fleets in the USAF service and possibly the B-52s in the future.
The aircraft has been scheduled to enter service in the mid-2020s. The USAF has planned to procure 100 aircraft, which has been assumed to be powered by two Pratt & Whitney engines, each producing 15,000lb thrust.
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