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Northrop Grumman Says It’s Confident On B-21’s Rollout Later This Year And First Flight in 2023

An article published on May 20, 2022, by Air Force Magazine, revealed for the first time that the first B-21 Raider bomber, will not take to the air until 2023. Citing an unnamed U.S. Air Force spokeswoman, the report said that the U.S. Air Force is now projecting the first flight of its new stealth bomber 6 months later than it was initially expected.

“This estimate reflects the current status of the program,” she said, without attributing the delay to any particular cause. As Air Force Magazine correctly pointed out, many other high-profile programs, such as Boeing’s T-7A trainer, have experienced delays due to supply chain issues and labor shortages, the same kind of problems that are affecting other industry fields too.

In 2021, Randall Walden, director of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, said that a first flight in mid-2022 was a “good bet”. Back then, a second B-21 Raider bomber was under construction at Northrop Grumman’s facility at the United States Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California. As of February 2022, at least six examples of the B-21 are under construction at Air Force Plant 42.

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