The United States on Friday unveiled the B-21 Raider, a high-tech stealth bomber that can carry nuclear and conventional weapons and is designed to be able to fly without a crew on board.
The slickly choreographed ceremony at B - 21 manufacturer Northrop Grumman's facility in Palmdale, California opened with the US national anthem as older bombers roared over a crowd that included top US officials.
Dramatic music played and lights flashed as the doors of a hangar slowly opened, and the crowd applauded as the cloth covering it was pulled away to reveal a sleek grey bomber that is on track to cost nearly US $700 million per plane.
The B-21 RaiderB-21 Raider is the first strategic bomber in more than three decades. In a statement at the ceremony, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that America has enduring advantages in innovation and ingenuity.
Austin highlighted in his remarks that the plane will allow significant advances over existing bombers in the US fleet, despite the fact that many of the aircraft are kept under wraps.
He said that the B-21 features stealth technology, which minimises the signature through both the shape and materials it is constructed from, making it harder for adversaries to detect, as a result of its range- no other long-range bomber can match its efficiency and durability.
Austin said that over the past fifty years of advances in low-observable technology have gone into this aircraft. Even the most sophisticated air defence systems won't be able to detect the B-21 in the sky. He said that the plane is built with an open system architecture that allows for the incorporation of new weapons that haven't even been invented yet.