According to Defense News, “The US Air Force secretary unveiled the first official rendering of the new Long Range Strike Bomber and revealed its official designation: the B-21.
In a speech at the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium on Feb. 26, Secretary Deborah Lee James shared an artist’s concept design of the next-generation bomber, which will be built by Northrop Grumman. She also announced the plane’s long-awaited designation, calling it the B-21.
However, the Air Force still has not decided on a name for the new B-21, James said. She called on airmen to send in suggestions.
“So we have an image, we have a designation, but what we don’t yet have, we don’t yet have a name,” James said, “and this is where I’m challenging and I’m calling on every airman today … to give us your best suggestions for a name for the B-21, America’s newest bomber.”
It’s not clear why the USAF dispensed with the sequential alpha-numeric designation called into play with the B1 and ensuing B-2 bombers, which are still in service with the Air Force. Moreover, the B-21 looks very much like its predecessor, the B-2 Spirit, although specifications were not released concerning the aircraft’s overall size, payload capability, range, etc. Like the B-2, the B-21 features a tailless design, will demonstrate a small radar cross section footprint and likely be designed to operate from airfields deep within the United States rather than abroad.