Key point: Russian media reports have recently claimed that stealth technology is useless against their air defenses.
The Air Force’s stealthy long-range bomber will have the endurance and next-generation stealth capability to elude the most advanced existing air defenses and attack anywhere in the world, if needed, senior service officials said.
When the Air Force revealed its first artist rendering of what its new Long Range Strike – Bomber looks like, former Air Force Secretary Deborah James made reference to plans to engineer a bomber able elude detection from even the best, most cutting-edge enemy air defenses.
"Our 5th generation global precision attack platform will give our country a networked sensor shooter capability enabling us to hold targets at risk anywhere in the world in a way that our adversaries have never seen," James said when revealing the image last year.
However, while Air Force developers say the emerging B-21 will introduce new stealth technologies better suited to elude cutting-edge air defenses, Russian media reports have recently claimed that stealth technology is useless against their air defenses. Russian built S-300 and S-400 air defenses are believed to be among the best in the world; in addition, The National Interest has reported that Russia is now working on an S-500 system able to destroy even stealthy targets at distances up to 125 miles.
Nevertheless, James added that the new bomber will be able to “play against the real threats.”
Although official details about the B-21 are, quite naturally, not available - some observers have pointed out that the early graphic rendering of the plane does not show exhaust pipes at all; this could mean that the Air Force has found a new method or releasing fumes or reducing the heat signature of the new stealth plane.
The new bomber, called the B-21, was formally named the "Raider" through a formal naming competition involving members of the Air Force, their families and other participants.
The Air Force has awarded a production contract to Northrop Grumman to engineer its new bomber. The LRS-B will be a next-generation stealth aircraft designed to introduce new stealth technology and fly alongside - and ultimately replace - the service’s existing B-2 bomber.