First official photos of US nuclear stealth bomber that looks like a UFO in flight

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When I click on the civilian video of the B-21, I get a “Media could not be played” message.

Looks like the Men in Black are already at work. Be careful, Boingers.


I guess that almost sounds like a deal after the cost of the the B-2 (which ran about $4 billion each adjusting for inflation).

Of course that’s only if we assume they’re being honest about the $700 million price tag. Which is obviously an insane amount of money to spend in any event.


Imagine all the good $700M could do, how many people it could feed and house.

Instead, we spend it on a fancy atrocity delivery vehicle. :expressionless:


think even of how much it costs to fly - in 2016, it was estimated that the f22 costs $34,000 per hour. :crying_cat_face:


The B-21, meant to replace the good ol’ B-1 and B-2 bombers,

But not the B-52?


… totally worth it :roll_eyes:


Unless it’s using stolen time lord technology to allow for a larger bomb bay than its external dimensions would suggest it’s probably not coming for the B-52.


From what I read they think it might eventually replace the B-52, but not in the short term. They’re planning to keep the B-52 flying into the 2050s, which is a testament to the engineering prowess of the people who designed that airplane back in the late 40s.

It would be like if modern militaries in 2024 were still fighting wars in Model Ts.


I see a weather balloon.


Last I heard, the B-52 is expected to be still in service in the 2050s, almost 100 years after it was introduced.

Imagine getting bombed by a BUFF in 2050: that’s almost as if you went out on a battlefield today and got strafed by a Sopwith Camel.

ETA: I see @Brainspore made a very similar analogy. Great minds, etc.


The usual priorities.


I expect there are also internal upgrades that couldn’t be retrofitted into the B-2. Such upgrades on other a/c get “in” via aerodynamic blisters fitted to the outer skin. Such a fit on the B-2 would screw with its radar signature and (possibly) challenge its computer-controlled fly-by-wire… something that neither the B-2 (nor the B-21) can fly without.


Being piloted by Charlie Chaplin, while the Heidelberg Quintet sing By the Beautiful Sea, serve Coca Cola with cocaine in it and show off their spats…


I hadn’t heard this part before:

It’s worth noting that the B-21 is still slated to be optionally manned. To what degree the USAF plans on using this capability remains unknown.

So a plane designed to carry a nuclear payload that can be flown as a drone. I don’t know why that’s so much scarier than any other nuclear delivery system but it still gives me the willies.


When you put it like that, it sounds almost worth it. We all have to go some time, and it would make a great conclusion to the biography section of your Wikipedia page.


Haven’t drones been the rule rather than the exception for nuclear delivery since fairly early in the cold war? Nuclear-capable bombers never fully went out of style(I’m not sure whether this is because they are seen to have some persistent advantage; or just because modern warheads are small enough that any bomber that isn’t a total waste of time without nuclear weapons would be capable of carrying some, though not all are enabled for it because of political concerns and treaty obligations); but people who wanted their nukes to actually arrive went hard on various missiles pretty much as soon as that was technologically possible.


A couple of years ago there was talk (from technology-leverage-happy generals) about having drone escorts fly along with the B-21, but that was summarily dropped by the AF which is still looking to have drone fighters flying about… but not with long-range a/c.

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Seems like fighter escorts for a stealth plane kind of defeats the purpose. Isn’t the whole point to avoid attracting the kind of attention that might lead to a plane-on-plane engagement?

It would be like sending a couple of armed bodyguards to tag along with a ninja assassin.


I think AF’s initial thoughts were along the lines of having stealth (read: small) fighters (drone or not) tag along. The problem with that had more to do with such fighters not having enough range to benefit the B-21. I’m thinking now of the WWII allied a/c (at first) not having the range to protect their bombers.

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