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Secrecy on USA’s new nuclear stealth bomber, and of course, secrecy on its cost to taxpayers.

The fact that the price is not public troubles government watchdogs.

Pentagon unveils new nuclear stealth bomber after years of secrecy The HillBY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS VIA NEXSTAR MEDIA WIRE – 12/02/22

WASHINGTON (AP) — America’s newest nuclear stealth bomber is making its public debut after years of secret development and as part of the Pentagon’s answer to rising concerns over a future conflict with China.

The B-21 Raider is the first new American bomber aircraft in more than 30 years. Almost every aspect of the program is classified. Ahead of its unveiling Friday at an Air Force facility in Palmdale, California, only artists’ renderings of the warplane have been released. Those few images reveal that the Raider resembles the black nuclear stealth bomber it will eventually replace, the B-2 Spirit.

The bomber is part of the Pentagon’s efforts to modernize all three legs of its nuclear triad, which includes silo-launched nuclear ballistic missiles and submarine-launched warheads, as it shifts from the counterterrorism campaigns of recent decades to meet China’s rapid military modernization………………………………….

Six B-21 Raiders are in production; The Air Force plans to build 100 that can deploy either nuclear weapons or onventional bombs and can be used with or without a human crew. Both the Air Force and Northrop also point to the Raider’s relatively quick development: The bomber went from contract award to debut in seven years. Other new fighter and ship programs have taken decades.

The cost of the bombers is unknown. The Air Force previously put the price for a buy of 100 aircraft at an average cost of $550 million each in 2010 dollars — roughly $753 million today — but it’s unclear how much the Air Force is actually spending.

The fact that the price is not public troubles government watchdogs.

“It might be a big challenge for us to do our normal analysis of a major program like this,” said Dan Grazier, a senior defense policy fellow at the Project on Government Oversight. “It’s easy to say that the B-21 is still on schedule before it actually flies. Because it’s only when one of these programs goes into the actual testing phase when real problems are discovered. And so that’s the point when schedules really start to slip and costs really start to rise.”

The Raider will not make its first flight until 2023. However, using advanced computing, Warden said, Northrop Grumman has been testing the Raider’s performance using a digital twin, a virtual replica of the one being unveiled.

…………………… Given advances in surveillance satellites and cameras, the Raider will debut very much under wraps and will be viewed inside a hangar. Invited guests including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will witness the hangar doors open to reveal the bomber for its public introduction, then the doors will close again.  https://thehill.com/homenews/3759575-pentagon-unveils-new-nuclear-stealth-bomber-after-years-of-secrecy/

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December 2, 2022 - Posted by | business and costs, USA, weapons and war

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