The U.S. Air Force’s new Next-Generation Stealth Bomber, the B-21 Raider, will likely have air-to-air defense capabilities, just like modern fighter jets.
In Air Force Magazine, Pacific Air Forces Director of Air and Cyber Operations Maj. Gen Scott L. Pleus confirmed that next-generation bomber will have new capabilities for self-defense during flight.
Maj. Gen Scott L. Pleus exposed details of new equipment and new concepts in order to sustain Air Force’s air superiority in the decades to come, adding that “a B-21 that also has air-to-air capabilities”.
On November 18, 2018, Force announced Tinker and Edwards Base will test, maintain the new B-21 stealth bomber.
Previously, the Air Force’s leaders also said that new B-21 Raider is a long-range and highly-survivable aircraft capable of penetrating air defenses and conducting a range of critical missions.
Sources familiar with the development of next-generation bomber said the B-21 Raider would be fitted with advanced radar that will be provided air-to-air capabilities. For air-to-air defense, the new bomber also would be added capability to carry air-to-air missiles.
The B-21 Raider program has a mature and stable design and is now transitioning to the manufacturing development of the first test aircraft. Northrop Grumman is utilizing its Melbourne facility for the design and development of the B-21 Raider.
The first B-21 is expected to be delivered in the mid-2020s.