Unveiling the Veil: B-21 Raider’s New Images and the Impending First Flight

The world of military aviation saw a significant development at this year’s Air & Space Forces Association mega-conference held just outside Washington, D.C. During his speech, Air Force Chief of Staff Charles Q. Brown, who is set to become the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, introduced two new images of the enigmatic B-21 Raider, the U.S. Air Force’s next-gen stealth bomber.

B-21 Raider

A Cloak of Secrecy

B-21 Raider

Though the B-21 Raider was officially unveiled last December, much of it has remained under wraps. Even in the rare instances where images have been released to the public, they have been from a single, controlled, head-on perspective. Now, we have new imagery offering a quartering view and an improved head-on angle of the aircraft, captured at Northrop Grumman’s facility at Plant 42 in Palmdale, California.

New Angles, New Details

These new angles aren’t just for show; they offer a wealth of information about the bomber’s design. The new quartering view, in particular, provides significant details about the aircraft’s aerodynamic profile, the placement of its systems, and possibly its overall capabilities.

Milestones and Schedules

According to the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS), these pictures were taken on July 31, just days after the first pre-production Raider had been “powered on” for the first time. This is an important milestone toward its maiden flight, anticipated to occur before the year’s end. Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall remained cautiously optimistic about the timeline, stressing the inherent risks and uncertainties in acquisition programs.

Future Directions

Despite the uncertainties, the Air Force is meticulously tracking the B-21 Raider’s progress through a detailed schedule. The first flight is a crucial step in a series of milestones that could shape the U.S.’s military air capabilities for decades to come.


The 2023 Air & Space Forces Association mega-conference has shed new light on the B-21 Raider. The new images offer tantalizing details and imply significant advances in the realm of stealth technology. As we await its first flight, this stealth bomber already marks a new chapter in military aviation history.

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