Tinker, Edwards AFB to lead support on USAF B-21 Raider developmentNews
November 20, 2018
ARLINGTON, Va. U.S. Air Force officials selected the Tinker Air Force Base (AFB) in Oklahoma and Edwards AFB in California to support the B-21 Raider.
Officials at Tinker AFB in California will coordinate maintenance and sustainment of the B-21 Raider, while Edwards AFB will lead testing and evaluation of the next generation long-range strike bomber. Northrop Grumman's Melbourne, Florida, facility is the site of the B-21 Raider design and development headquarters. The B-21 is in the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the acquisition cycle.
The decision to use these bases marks the next milestone in the development and eventual deployment of the B-21, a long-range and highly-survivable aircraft capable of penetrating air defenses and conducting a range of critical missions, officials explain. The plane is expected to be delivered in the mid-2020s.
Robins AFB, Georgia, and Hill AFB, Utah, will support Tinker AFB to ensure the advanced B-21 is maintained and, when necessary, overhauled, and upgraded. The workforce at the bases will also be equipped to rebuild parts, assemblies or subassemblies of the plane as well as testing and reclaiming equipment as necessary for depot activations.
Edwards AFB was selected as the location of the B-21's Combined Test Force. The base is home to the Air Force Test Center, which leads testing and evaluation for the Air Force to ensure aircraft and other equipment meet rigorous standards. The testing program at Edwards AFB is also designed to provide timely, objective, and accurate information to decision makers, Air Force officials say.
"From flight testing the X-15 to the F-117, Edwards AFB in the Mohave Desert has been at the forefront of keeping our Air Force on the cutting edge," says Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein. "Now, testing the B-21 Raider will begin another historic chapter in the base's history."