USAF unveils first rendering of B-21 long-range strike bomber
The US Air Force (USAF) has revealed the first rendering of the long-range strike bomber (LRS-B), designated the B-21, at the Air Force Association's Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, US.
USAF Secretary Deborah Lee James said: "This aircraft represents the future for our Airmen, and (their) voice is important to this process.
"The Airman who submits the selected name will help me announce it at the (Air Force Association) conference this fall."
The first rendering of the aircraft based on the initial design concept did not include the prototypes of the aircraft.
James added: "The B-21 has been designed from the beginning based on a set of requirements that allows the use of existing and mature technology.
The USAF plans to field the initial capability of the aircraft in mid-2020s.
In October 2015, the USAF awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman for the production of LRS-B, in a bid to replace the air force's aging fleet of bombers.
Currently in its engineering and manufacturing development phase (EMD), the programme aims at developing a new long-range, highly survivable bomber capable of penetrating and operating in the future anti-access, area denial environment.
According to the USAF, the independent estimate for the EMD phase is $21.4bn in 2010 dollars.
The second phase of the contract features options for the first five production lots that include 21 aircraft out of the total fleet of 100.
The APUC from the independent estimate supporting the award is $511m per aircraft, again in 2010 dollars.
Image: Artist's rendering of the new B-21 long range strike bomber. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force.