B-21 Raider — Supporting Voices

“Our B-21 team just ran containerized software with Kubernetes on flight-ready hardware! Another step towards ‘DevStar’: our initiative to bring radical autonomy to software development, partnering with Northrop Grumman. Owning the digital OODA [Observe, Orient, Decide, Act] loop or bust!”

– Dr. Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
May 29, 2020

 


“The B-21 will be a visible, flexible component of the nuclear triad that assures allies and partners… The National Defense Strategy calls on the Department of the Air Force, as a critical component of the joint force, to deter and, if needed, defeat these threats… This fiscal year ’21 budget request sets the course for the Department to accomplish these aims.”

– Barbara Barrett, Secretary of the Air Force
Mar. 9, 2020

 


“The B-21 is one of our top modernization programs to maintain both a nuclear and conventional warfighting advantage. In addition to pushing boundaries in hardware technologies, like stealth, the B-21 is blazing new trails in agile software development.”

– Dr. Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
Feb. 28, 2020

 


“Now more than ever, our military needs additional combat power to meet the threats identified in the National Defense Strategy and, as a result, both the Air Force and Congress understand the need to accelerate the deployment of the new B-21 Raider as a fundamental part of that mission.”

– Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Texas)
Feb. 10, 2020

 


“It is absolutely critical that the Air Force develop and deliver this B-21 operational capability as soon as possible, with at least 100 fielded aircraft, to ensure we maintain the ability to operate in contested environments around the world and to counter emerging threats.”

– Gen. Stephen Wilson, Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force
Dec. 4, 2019

 


“But B-21 is trying to not just do agile software. They want to blaze new territory, a new trail for the Air Force. The idea that one of our most complicated airplanes with one of the most challenging missions is also taking on one of the most challenging software approaches to make their software living [and] breathing on the plane itself is inspiring.”

– Dr. Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
Sep. 19, 2019

 


“They’re [B-21] going to be pushing the boundaries of how aircraft software should work in this century, and increasingly the software is where the cutting edge—the winning edge—is going to come from.”

– Dr. Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
Sep. 19, 2019

 


“And our B-21 program has taken a challenge from me to take on a series of software accelerations called digital bullet challenges. The ultimate goal is to get to a Raider that can land with better software than it took off with. To get to the point that software is a living, breathing warfighter advantage, but to do it in a way that’s safe and secure.”

– Dr. Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
Sep. 16, 2019

 


“I would call our B-21 program a software factory. They’re writing agile DevSecOps code and they’re pushing the envelope on trying to do software updates faster than any other aircraft. We call it the digital bullet challenge…It’s all in the vein of what if we have to change our code every week, every day. That team is trying to think about operational code coming at the speed at which operations happen.”

– Dr. Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
Aug. 10, 2019

 


“The 2018 National Defense Strategy stated, ‘The Joint Force must be able to strike diverse targets inside adversary air and missile networks.' The B-21 Raider was designed to meet this requirement and deliver an unequivocal strategic advantage over our adversaries, making this long-range strike capability a critical asset on the modern battlefield.”

—Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and John Cornyn (R-Texas)
Aug. 17, 2018

 


“This year's NDAA [National Defense Authorization Act] is an especially big win for our troops. … I am also glad to have successfully advocated for the support of several programs that are produced right here in the 25th District, including the B-21 Raider. … This bill will make America safer, and I'm very pleased it has been signed into law.”

—Rep. Steve Knight (R-California)
April 18, 2018

 


“Ellsworth [Air Force Base] remains well-positioned for the B-21 mission, especially with close access to the expanded Powder River Training Complex, which will be essential for meeting the training needs of these fifth-generation aircraft. I am proud that South Dakota will continue to host this strike capability in support of our national defense strategy and the airmen who support it.”

—Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota)
May 2, 2018

 


“I am pleased and proud that today the Air Force officially announced their decision to base the B-21 Raider at Whiteman Air Force Base. … The B-21 represents the next generation of our nation's stealth global strike capability and will build on the B-2's admirable legacy. I look forward to continuing to work with the Air Force to ensure our nation is able to deter threats and project power through the vital missions at Whiteman.”

—Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Missouri)
May 2, 2018

 


“The B-21 continues to make measured, positive progress and remains on track to deliver its initial capability in the mid-2020s. The Air Force remains committed to a fleet size of a minimum of 100 B-21s. This fleet will provide capabilities necessary to meet future Combatant Commander requirements. The B-21 remains an absolute national defense priority.”

—Lt. Gen. Arnold W. Bunch, Jr., Military Deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition
April 18, 2018

 


“I am confident that the B-21 program remains on track for production and delivery. As the chairman of the Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, I view it as my duty to authorize the necessary funds for the B-21 program and deliver this critical capability as soon as possible.”

—Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Virginia)
March 2, 2018

 


“The B-21 Raider is our future deterrent stealth bomber. This program stands at the forefront of the nation's defense modernization efforts and will eventually build on the B-2's legacy as the world's most advanced long-range strike bomber, one of our adversaries' most feared weapon systems.”

—Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Missouri)
Feb. 12, 2018

 


“At this stage of the journey — and it is still in its infancy stage — I am thrilled. I believe … we have the opportunity with the B-21 to be a benchmark acquisition program with us and Northrop. And I say that because we have been partners for the last 30 years on stealth, low observable [technologies], so we already have a track record. And we have the benefit to draw the lessons learned on what went well and didn't go so well with the B-2 and apply those to this. We also have the benefit of learning from the F-22 and the F-35. And I think there is really a neat opportunity that we can be on time and on cost and deliver this incredibly lethal platform that we are going to need to get us well into the 21st century.”

—Gen. Robin Rand, Commander, U.S. Global Strike Command
Nov. 14, 2017

 


“The central idea of the B-21 approach is that it is going to leverage decades' experience from a variety of aircraft developmental programs. That is why we say it is using rather mature technologies, but they will be put together in a new and creative way.”

—Deborah Lee James, Former Secretary of the Air Force
Aug. 8, 2017

 


“I am particularly pleased with the progress the Air Force has made on the B-21 Raider program. While it remains early in the design process, I believe that Northrop Grumman has made the B-21 program a priority and is delivering to the anticipated cost and schedule of the program.”

—Rep. Robert Wittman (R-Virginia)
June 21, 2017

 


“The B-21 will provide flexibility across a wide range of joint military operations using long range, large mixed payloads and survivability. Agile acquisition processes have been built into the B-21 development and procurement efforts, ensuring we deliver system capabilities for the best value while integrating open architecture for ease of upgrade to future technology requirements.”

—Gen. Stephen Wilson, Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force
June 7, 2017

 


“We are rapidly developing the B-21 Raider long-range strike bomber. The B-21 will form the backbone of our future bomber force, ensuring the ability of our nation's leaders to hold targets at risk around the world with both conventional and nuclear weapons.”

—General David L. Goldfein, Chief of Staff of the Air Force
June 6, 2017

 


“The Air Force's B-21 Raider will be the world's most advanced long-range strike bomber when it fields in the mid-2020s. It also offers noteworthy cost-effective advantages over older fighter aircraft and bomber aircraft. It carries larger payloads, it requires fewer aircraft and puts fewer men and women in harm's way to accomplish the mission. B-21 is an operational imperative, and we must ensure it remains an affordable program in order to augment and eventually replace our legacy bomber fleet. [W]e must ensure our military is never in a fair fight, and the B- 21 will do that by enabling our military leaders to strike anywhere at any time.”

—Rep. Steve Knight (R-California)
March 9, 2017

 


“This next-generation bomber will replace a sorely aging fleet that has provided us with long-range strike capabilities for generations. With an ability to strike anywhere in the world, it is the most versatile leg of the nuclear triad and also provides a tested and proven conventional strike capability. Moving forward, especially at this stage of the acquisition program, it will be important to ensure adequate funding in order to avoid unnecessary and costly delays.”

—Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam)
March 9, 2017

 


“Technology gaps between the U.S. and potential adversaries are closing. The B-21 will support the nuclear triad by providing an advanced and flexible deterrent capability with the ability to penetrate modern and future air defenses. Further, the B-21 will provide flexibility across a wide range of joint military operations using long range, large mixed payloads and survivability. Agile acquisition processes have been built into the B-21 development and procurement efforts, ensuring we deliver system capabilities for the best value, while integrating open architecture for ease of upgrade to future technology requirements.”

—Gen. Stephen Wilson, Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force
March 8, 2017

 


“As adversaries deploy increasingly sophisticated, integrated air defense systems, I fully support development and fielding of the dual-capable B-21 bomber. With its long range and enhanced penetration capabilities, the B-21 will directly support U.S. policy, strategy goals and multiple combatant commander requirements by maintaining U.S. effectiveness in increasingly challenging anti-access/area denial environments.”

—Gen. John Hyten, Commander, U.S. Strategic Command
March 8, 2017

 


“The [old bombers] are good airplanes, but they're not capable of penetrating the defenses that we need now. Technology has increased and improved. … There are anti-aircraft systems that are far more powerful than they were just a few years ago. This aircraft [LRS-B] is going to be essential in countering that. For our own security, we really need this.”

—U.S. Congressman Chris Stewart, R-Utah
Jan. 28, 2016

 


“When I announced the award for the new Long-Range Strike Bomber, I made note that the bomber would employ a modular, open mission systems architecture, meaning we can change out different elements of the aircraft's mission systems as the threat, technology or business cases evolve. Our Open Systems Acquisitions, or OSA, activity supports this effort.”

—Deborah Lee James, Former Secretary of the Air Force
Jan. 13, 2016

 


“The Air Force made the right choice, the smart choice, the best-value choice for the taxpayer. And I can assure you that we are there to defend this choice — no matter what kind of protest.”

—Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia.
Dec. 21, 2015

 


“Northrop didn't need a lot of teammates. They have a lot of capacity to do this thing in-house, way more so than Boeing or Lockheed did. It's an interesting commentary on the state of the industry that Northrop can deliver a sort of full up, end-to-end solution — a bomber with a radar and electronic systems and apertures. The other two had to bring a partner in.”

—Andrew Hunter, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Nov. 17, 2015

 


“The value of the system in terms of revitalizing our ability to reach anywhere in the world in a set of hours to conduct a variety of tasks across the spectrum of conflict — and the capability that this system brings to the nation — is absolutely incredible. That is the positive of this. Value is measured not in cost per individual unit but what effects it can create.”

—Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, U.S. Air Force (retired)
Nov. 17, 2015

 


“LRS-B will possess the global force projection capabilities to conduct a show of force anywhere in the world, demonstrate national commitment to our allies even when based in the continental U.S. and provide lethal effects against dynamic targets.”

—Lt. Gen. Robert Elder, U.S. Air Force (retired)
Nov. 13, 2015

 


“Only the B-2 stealth bomber maintained and modernized in my district can penetrate advanced air defenses. However, we only have 20 B-2s. Given NGC's 35 years designing, building, delivering and modernizing the stealth bomber at Plant 42, I know the men and women who work there … are incredibly qualified to build our nation's next long-range strike aircraft.”

—U.S. Congressman Steve Knight, R-California.
Nov. 3, 2015

 


“Our nation's security depends on our ability to strike targets anywhere around the world at any time. It is critical that we get to work on a new bomber to ensure the U.S. can defeat the advanced air defense systems our adversaries are developing. I look forward to working with the Air Force to ensure this bomber can meet the threats we face and provide the best possible value to the taxpayer.”

—U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-North Dakota.
Oct. 29, 2015

 


“The capabilities of the LRS-B will ensure the United States is able to hold any target on the globe at risk while providing our combatant commanders critical operational flexibility across the full range of military operations. Its range, survivability and payload flexibility will ensure that we can execute our global power mission and provide our joint force commanders [with] a critical asset to employ against the advanced air defenses of our adversaries while also assuring our allies and partners of our commitment to nuclear deterrence.”

—Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, 22nd Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force (retired)
Oct. 27, 2015

 


“The aging of our bomber fleet and the increasingly complex threat environment we face requires new thinking and new capabilities, both to preserve our strategic deterrent and to extend our ability to reach any target around the world. The long-range strike bomber will support America's defense strategy by forming the backbone of the Air Force's future strike and deterrent capabilities.”

—Ash Carter, Former U.S. Secretary of Defense
Oct. 27, 2015

 

 

The views expressed here are the opinions of third parties.

 

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