B-21 Step by Step Towards Maiden Flight
The engine testing indicates that the new stealth bomber will likely undergo its maiden test flight. The B-21 Raider is expected to be operational by 2027.
The U.S. Air Force began planning the B-21 Raider in 2011 and was awarded a significant development contract in 2015.
As part of the Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) program, the B-21 Raider will be a long-range intercontinental stealth strategic bomber capable of delivering conventional and thermonuclear weapons.
Many aspects of the B-21 Raider program are highly classified. This program is designated as an exclusive access program. The Congressional Research Service noted in 2021 that technical details and specifications of the B-21 Raider, such as speed, support systems, dimensions, required stealth capabilities, structure, engine type, weapons projection, and onboard sensors, remain classified.