LRS-B Image Emerges: Meet the B-21

B-21 is the LRS-B

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James unveiled the first renderings of the Air Force's LRS-B, which will be known as the B-21, at the Air Force Association’s annual Air Warfare Symposium.

There are no prototypes of this bomber built yet, but the above artist rendering is based upon the initial design concept.

The B-21 - so named because it represents the "first bomber of the 21st Century" - is planned to be not only a long-range bomb delivery aircraft, but also incorporate electronic warfare, surveillance, and data fusion capabilities. It will also, obviously, incorporate the latest in stealth and low-observable technology, given the rendering's strong similarity to the B-2 bomber. The B-21 is expected to replace the venerable but well-loved B-52 and the supersonic B-1B.

Up to 100 units are planned, with an estimated cost at over $550 million per bomber. The program recently entered into the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase, and the Air Force expects the aircraft to enter service sometime in the mid-2020's.