The Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider strategic bomber has seen plans for a archetypal formation successful 2022 terminated, with the reasons for the hold remaining unexplained. Supply concatenation issues, labour shortages and show problems person each been speculated by assorted sources. An Air Force spokeswoman speaking to Air Force Magazine nevertheless reassured that accumulation of the caller craft “remains wrong its acquisition programme baseline for cost, schedule, and show established astatine Milestone B award, which was based connected an autarkic authorities estimation for the program… B-21 programme continues to guarantee the archetypal formation trial craft is simply a high-quality physique and production-representative, successful bid to thrust an businesslike formation trial run and rapidly tract this captious combat capability." With anterior station Cold War programs peculiarly for stealth craft and ships consistently facing years agelong delays, tremendous outgo overruns and superior show issues, notable examples being the F-35 and F-22 fighters, B-2 bomber, Littoral Combat Ship and Zumwalt Class destroyer, it has agelong been expected that the B-21 could look astatine slightest immoderate akin issues with presently delays perchance being the archetypal of aggregate signs of this.
Aside from the B-2 Spirit which saw accumulation capped astatine conscionable 20 serial airframes owed to heavy fund cuts and wide ranging show issues, the B-21 is the archetypal caller Western bomber to beryllium developed since the 1970s which places a tremendous load connected the program. The craft is expected to regenerate each B-1 and B-2 bombers successful work and signifier aggregate further squadrons, with the airframe speculated to besides beryllium utilized arsenic the ground for assorted supporting craft specified arsenic tankers and airborne aboriginal informing jets. With the B-1 already having begun status successful the look of precise debased availably rates, astatine times successful the azygous digits, the request for a adjacent procreation bomber successful the signifier of the B-21 remains critical. Although the rival Russian programme the PAK DA has faced important delays, the Chinese H-20 is expected to participate work astatine astir the aforesaid clip arsenic the B-21 and perchance years earlier it and to beryllium fielded successful comparable numbers. The B-21 is expected to spot good implicit 100 airframes built, with immoderate sources speculating that implicit 200 could participate service, to not lone modernise the fleet but besides signifier aggregate caller squadrons partially reversing station Cold War cuts to bomber numbers. Whether the craft volition beryllium capable to execute its goals depends heavy connected its quality to conscionable targets for operational costs and attraction needs, which anterior American stealth craft and stealth ships person precise consistently failed to bash forcing the Pentagon to marque heavy cuts to planned acquisitions.