Close this search box.

New photos of the B-21 Nuclear Stealth Bomber unveiled by US Air Force

It's time to ascend.

The US government has released its first official images of the B-21 Raider nuclear stealth bomber in flight, offering new perspectives on what is expected to become “the backbone of the US Air Force Bomber fleet.” These images provide some of the clearest views yet of the aircraft’s features, such as its sharpened nose, radar-deflecting undercarriage covers, and flying wing fuselage. As highlighted by New Atlas earlier this week, the images also reveal a temporary red pitot tube for collecting test flight data, visible engine air inlets, and an open hatch that may serve as an air intake for an auxiliary engine.

The Air Force has previously confirmed that six of these aircraft are in production. Each B-21 Raider, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, is reported to cost around $700 million—approximately $200 million more than initial estimates in 2010.

Despite the B-21 Raider’s high-profile unveiling in December 2022, the military remains very cautious about how and when it showcases this advanced aircraft. Earlier official photos, for instance, deliberately did not include views of the exhaust ports, which can be detected by sensitive radar systems looking for infrared and heat signatures.

Unofficial sources, however, sometimes provide additional glimpses of secretive aircraft. In November 2023, civilians captured video footage of the B-21 Raider during a test flight, leading the Air Force to quietly confirm that it had moved from ground engine tests to in-air trials around the same time.

After more than three decades of development, the initial B-21 Raiders will operate alongside existing B-1 and B-2 bombers before eventually replacing them. In the recent photo release, officials described the stealth aircraft as a “long-range, highly survivable, penetrating strike stealth bomber” that will significantly support national security objectives and reassure US allies and partners worldwide.