Well, unless you’ve been living in a cave, you know by now that the much-anticipated rollout of the B-21 bomber is scheduled for Dec. 2. It is the most significant new military program in thirty years.
With the unveiling fast approaching, I thought it might be worth asking: Is the B-21 a flying saucer?
Answer: Hell yeah, the B-21 bomber’s a flying saucer, if not literally, then metaphorically. In other words, it’s not merely some iterative evolution of the B-2, as the official artist “interpretations” would have us believe.
It’s something different. In its recent twitter posting to announce the unveiling date, Northrop Grumman claims, “This changes everything.”
It’s probably just an exercise in corporate hyper-marketing, but if not, how does the B-21 change everything?
For example, might it be capable of vertical takeoff and landing or hovering over a single location for hours at a time? Does the bomber possess radical new technology, possibly related to propulsion? Might it be capable of low-earth orbit?
There’s been a lot of talk about the B-21’s advanced prototyping, which has been a key factor in allowing Northrop Grumman to develop the bomber on time and on budget. In essence, components in the platform had already been designed, built and tested. Yet, the bomber was based on a “clean-sheet” design, meaning it is not an adaptation of the B-2 stealth bomber or other existing aircraft. Officials have also said the bomber is based on a “very mature” technology, yet not necessarily known to the public.
These two things seem contradictory: The bomber has largely been developed already, yet its design is not an extension of the B-2 or other aircraft. The technology is mature, yet unknown to the public.
What does it all mean?
Perhaps it means they’ve been flying this thing, in one form or another, for some time, existing entirely in the black. I would imagine there’s a whole grab bag of toys hidden under the cover of blackness waiting to be seeded into the white world. But I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. It’s all in Flying Saucers.