The bomber is back.
Thirty years after the Northrop Grumman B-2 became the last all-new bomber design worldwide to achieve a first flight, the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, has started preparing for the arrival of the first B-21 Raider within six years.
Only days after the U.S. Air Force announced that the first B-21 operational squadron would be based here in late March, the wing proudly splashed “Raider Country” in painted brown letters across the installation's largest hangar. Program staff also briefed the wing's leadership on the B-21 itself, telling them to expect the future bomber to fly as quietly as a Boeing 737. The next step is to decide where to put the new B-21 wing. The options include the two rows of hangars that once housed B-52s, or build new facilities on the other side of the runway.