New secret ‘invisible’ US nuclear bomber the B-21 Raider flies for the first time EVER in chilling warning to Putin & Xi | The Sun
THE US's brand new nuclear stealth bomber has been spotted soaring through the sky in a chilling warning to world leaders Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.
Footage taken outside the US Air Force's classified aircraft manufacturing plant in California on Friday showed the B-21 Raider take flight for the very first time accompanied by a F-16 chase plane.
It is understood to have been travelling to Edwards Air Force Base, where it will now undergo formal flight testing.
The £639million planes are the backbone of the US's future airborne nuclear weapons fleet, designed to hit and survive even the most heavily-defended targets.
The Raider was designed to deter attacks against the US, its allies, and its partners and its highly-anticipated take-off could deter threats, or be taken as a threat, by its nuclear-armed competitors, China and Russia.
Vice-president of Northrop Grumman’s strike division Doug Young said last year: "With the capability to hold targets at risk anywhere in the world, this weapon system is critical to our national security."
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About 100 planes are expected to enter service with the US Air Force in the mid-2020s, replacing the Air Force's B-2 and B-1 bombers.
US Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek explained on Friday: "The B-21 Raider is in flight testing.
"Flight testing is a critical step in the test campaign managed by the Air Force Test Centre and 412th 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," she told The War Zone.
Many aspects of the B-21 program, such as its speed, size, required stealth, projected weapons, and onboard sensors are highly classified – but the Raider is thought to have drawn much of its design from its predecessors.
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More details about the B-21's capabilities may increasingly emerge now that it has taken its first flight.
The planes have been described as "multi-functional" and will be capable of much more than conventional strikes.
Secretary of Defense Austin said last year: "It can handle anything from gathering intel to battle management."
It comes after the US's defence department revealed a new nuclear bomb 24 times more powerful than the one dropped over Hiroshima is currently under development.
The B61-13, a new version of the B61 nuclear "gravity bomb", will have a similar yield to its predecessor B61-7, which can have a maximum load of 360 kilotons.
It is 14 times larger than the bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945.
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