US Air Force closer to finishing critical designs, ‘hard engineering' for B-21

by Pat Host

The US Air Force (USAF) is closer to finishing the critical designs and “hard engineering” for the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider long-range strike bomber (LRSB), according to a service official.

Randy Walden, Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) director and programme executive officer (PEO), said on 13 August that the service is now moving toward producing the aircraft and proceeding with developmental flight test activities to inform future fixes. This is because the B-21 will not be immune from design flaws, he said.

Artist’s rendering of a B-21 concept in a hangar at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. The UASF is now moving toward producing the aircraft and proceeding with developmental flight test activities to inform future fixes. (Northrop Grumman)

Artist’s rendering of a B-21 concept in a hangar at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. The UASF is now moving toward producing the aircraft and proceeding with developmental flight test activities to inform future fixes. (Northrop Grumman)

“I want to find out what those design deficiencies are as fast as I can, get on with the solution, get that into the programme, and then the development phase, and get on with production,” Walden said during a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event.

The first B-21 test aircraft is being built and starting to look like an aircraft, Walden was quoted by the USAF as saying in a 3 August statement. Suppliers from across the country are delivering parts that are coming together.

The USAF has a flight test aircraft that it is using to host some B-21 subsystems to buy down risk. Walden said this is so that the first time they are introduced into an air environment is not on the B-21. The service is taking a parallel approach, working out subsystem and software bugs and then applying the knowledge for when these are applied to an actual B-21.

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/us-air-force-closer-to-finishing-critical-designs-hard-engineering-for-b-21

The US Air Force (USAF) is closer to finishing the critical designs and “hard engineering” for the N...

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