Senior leaders visit B-21 design, development headquarters

Air Force senior leaders met with industry partners Feb. 28 at Northrop Grumman’s Melbourne B-21 Raider design and development headquarters.

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett was joined by Dr. Richard Joseph, Air Force chief scientist, and Dr. Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, in touring on-site facilities to observe B-21 engineering and manufacturing developments.

Northrop Grumman scientists offered updates on the progress of both software development and the build of the initial test aircraft, currently underway in Palmdale, California. The evolution of the next-generation stealth bomber is made possible by the Department of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office in partnership with Northrop Grumman.

“The Raider workforce demonstrates the highest level of commitment to modernizing the nuclear force,” Barrett said. “The B-21 will be a visible, flexible component of the nuclear triad that assures allies and partners.”

These focused efforts align with the fiscal year 2021 President’s Budget Request direction for the Department of Defense to ensure modernization of nuclear forces is its number one priority.

“The B-21 is one of our top modernization programs to maintain both a nuclear and conventional warfighting advantage. In addition to pushing boundaries in hardware technologies, like stealth, the B-21 is blazing new trails in agile software development,” Roper said.

The industry visit comes on the heels of Barrett’s attendance at the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, in February, and only six months after former Acting Secretary of the Air Force Matthew Donavan announced the B-21 production location at AFA’s 2019 Air, Space and Cyber Conference.

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