Australia hints at buying B-21 Raider stealth bombers

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Australia hints at buying B-21 Raider stealth bombers
Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles has given strong hints that Australia may be considering purchasing Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider stealth bombers from the United States. This move was made in an interview with Australia on 26 August 2022 when discussing the future of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

Richard Marles said the B-21 bomber, still in development for the US Air Force, is being examined to meet new long-range strike capability requirements.

A few days earlier, US Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall mentioned the US government's willingness to discuss its interests and desire to help Australia.

There had been previous recommendations from Australian defence experts about the potential consideration of the B-21 bomber for the RAAF's long-range strike capability that was lost when the service grounded its fleet of F-111C/G Aardvark attack bombers in 2010.

The US government still has the sole discretion to decide whether to allow an ally like Australia to acquire these B-21 bombers, as the unique high-tech defence system is something the US military expects to keep to itself for fear of its technology being 'stolen' by other countries.

The recently formed AUKUS alliance signals a new term in the Asia Pacific as the US confronts China and the UK.

There are currently a reported six B-21s being produced by Northrop Grumman. In March 2022, the first B-21s were transferred to a calibration facility.

In May 2022, the US Air Force announced that it expected the B-21's first flight in 2023.

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