Military Embedded Systems

Long Range Strike Bomber, B-21, concept unveiled by Air Force


February 27, 2016

John McHale

Editorial Director

Military Embedded Systems

ORLANDO, Florida. Air Force officials announced the first images of the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRSB), also known as the B-21 at the Air Force Association's (AFA's) Air Warfare Symposium this month in Orlando, Florida.

Secretary Deborah Lee James said the Air Force will be taking suggestions from its airmen to help name the bomber. “This aircraft represents the future for our airmen, and (their) voice is important to this process,” she said. “The airman who submits the selected name will help me announce it at the (AFA) conference this fall.”

Air Force officials say that airmen -- active, guard, reserve, and civilian -- should stay tuned to and Air Force social media accounts for more information on how to submit their ideas for naming the B-21.

While there are no existing prototypes of the the B-21, the artist rendering is based on an initial design concept. The designation B-21 recognizes the LRS-B as the first bomber of the 21st century, Air Force officials say. James said the B-21 resembles the B-2 because it was designed from the start based on a set of requirements that leverage existing and mature technology.

This announcement follows just weeks after both James and the Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, delivered the service's fiscal year (FY) 2017 posture statement before the Senate Appropriations Committee. “The platforms and systems that made us great over the last 50 years will not make us great over the next 50,” Welsh said during his testimony on Capitol Hill Feb. 10, according to an Air Force release. “There are many other systems we need to either upgrade or recapitalize to ensure viability against current and emerging threats… the only way to do that is to divest old capability to build the new.”

The Secretary said at the symposium that the B-21 will enable the Air Force to have the flexibility and the capability to launch from the continental United States and deliver airstrikes on any location in the world. The LRSB recently entered into the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase and the Air Force plans to field the initial capability of the aircraft in mid-2020s.