B-21 unveiling honours ‘Doolittle Raiders’

On December 2, Northrop Grumman, in partnership with the United States Air Force, unveiled its much anticipated sixth-generation stealth bomber – the B-21 Raider.

Developed as part of the Long Range Strike Bomber programme to replace the Rockwell B-1 Lancer and Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit by 2040, and conceivably the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress after that, the new bomber’s name honours the “bold, innovative and courageous spirit” of the ‘Doolittle Raiders’ – the 80 airmen led by Lt Col James ‘Jimmy’ Doolittle that changed the course of World War Two.

On April 18, 1942, flying 16 North American B-25 Mitchells from the deck of aircraft carrier USS Hornet, the Raiders attacked targets in Tokyo and other locations in response to the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii four months before.

During the unveiling at the US aviation and defence giant’s Palmdale site in California, Secretary of Defence Lloyd J Austin III commented: “The Doolittle Raiders showed the reach and power of American air power. The audacity of the Doolittle Raiders has inspired generations of American aviators. It is fitting that the next chapter in American air power is named in their honour.”

The B-21 is unveiled to the world on December 2,  2022
The B-21 is unveiled to the world on December 2, 2022 US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE - CHAD J MCNEELEY