Update: USAF reveals B-21 Raider stealth bomber following years of secret development
05 December 2022
by Zach Rosenberg
The B-21 Raider was unveiled to the public during a 2 December 2022 ceremony in Palmdale, California. (US Space Force Public Affairs)
The US Air Force (USAF) unveiled the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider stealth bomber on 2 December at the company's factory at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, where the aircraft was built. At least five B-21s (not including the completed example unveiled) are in various stages of production.
“If you want to talk about integrated deterrence in action, well, just look at this aircraft,” said Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin II, introducing the aircraft. “The B-21 looks imposing, but what's under the frame and space-age coatings is even more impressive.” Austin went on to praise the B-21's range, stealth, maintainability, and adaptability – but nearly all specifications were withheld and only the aircraft's front was displayed, presumably to hide the engine outlets from public view.
A new, flexible silicon-on-polymer semiconductor chip developed by the US Air Force Research Laboratory. (US Air Force)
The US Department of Defense (DoD) has inked a 10-year, USD3.1 billion semiconductor manufacturing deal with New York-based GlobalFoundries (GF), to produce critical microelectronics (ME) for current and future aerospace systems and weapons platforms.
GF will receive USD17.3 million up front, as part of the contract with the department's Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA), according to a 21 September company statement. As per the terms of the contract, drafted by DMEA's Trusted Access Program Office (TAPO), the Pentagon and department contractors will have access to GF-built semiconductor technologies over the next decade, the statement said.
Aside from DoD access to domestically built ME systems and components from GF, the Pentagon will also have access to the company's “design ecosystem, IP [internet protocol] libraries, early access to new technologies in development, quick and efficient prototyping, and full-scale volume manufacturing”, the statement noted.
DARPA's Diverse Accessible Heterogeneous Integration effort is developing transistor-scale heterogeneous integration processes seeking to combine advanced compound semiconductor wafers with CMOS technology. Pictured here is a DAHI wafer. (Northrop Grumman)
The US Department of Defense (DoD) has officially announced the eight new research and development (R&D) hubs in the United States that will make up the department's new Microelectronics (ME) Commons.
The ME Commons initiative, funded through the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act of 2002, is designed to “get the most cutting-edge microchips into systems our troops use every day ... [while] reducing our reliance on foreign components, keeping us safe from the risks of supply chain disruption”, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said during a 20 September briefing at the Pentagon.
Managed by the Strategic & Spectrum Missions Advanced Resilient Trusted Systems (S2MARTS), Other Transaction Authority (OTA), and Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), the ME Commons will interconnect the series of regional R&D hubs focusing on different sectors of ME capability development.
The Faraday Dragon spacecraft (concept pictured above in orbit) offers small satellite performance, carrying up to 60 kg of payload and a payload power of up to 200 W, along with 1 TB of data storage, a high-rate downlink, and a mission lifetime of five years. (In-Space Missions)
BAE Systems subsidiary In-Space Missions is building an Asia-Pacific regional first satellite rideshare mission known as Faraday Dragon targeted for launch in 2026, a spokesperson for In-Space told
at the Taipei Aerospace & Defense Technology Exhibition 2023 (TADTE 2023) held in Taipei from 14 to 16 September.
According to In-Space, Faraday Dragon is the first of a series of rideshare small satellites that will fly multiple payloads for regional space players including government, commercial, financial, research, and educational organisations.
The spokesperson said that the company is in discussions with seven countries including Taiwan for this mission.
“In terms of the countries with which we are engaged in discussions about Faraday Dragon at the moment, [they] include Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Taiwan,” the spokesperson said.
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