B-21 Raider : Future US bomber could attack entire world
WASHINGTON (APP/AFP):- The long-range US strike bomber of the future will be called the Raider, in honor of warplanes that staged a surprise attack against Japan during World War II, the Air Force said Monday.
The Pentagon awarded Northrop Grumman a contract in 2015 to build the new lane, scheduled to come into service toward the middle of the next decade.
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As a radar-evading stealth plane, it will also be designed to dodge sophisticated anti-aircraft defenses, including those Russia and China are developing.
The plane's name harks back to an important moment in US military history.
On April 18, 1942, US bombers staged a surprise attack on Japan in a daring raid led by one Lieutenant Colonel James Dolittle. The 80 crew members of those 16 planes came to be called the Dolittle Raiders.
Their specially modified B-25 bombers took off from an aircraft carrier in the Pacific and struck Tokyo and other targets.
The attack boosted US morale, showed that Japan was vulnerable to American attacks and forced Japan to recall combat planes for home defense.
The Pentagon has said little about the exact features of the B-21 Raider.
Judging from official sketches, the plane will resemble a giant flying wing, much like the current B-2 bomber, also built by Northrop Grumman.
The Air Force chose the name after an internal consultation. More than 2,100 suggestions were submitted.