#b21

As we near its historic unveiling, is the B-21 bomber a flying saucer?

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.

Is B-21 Bomber a flying saucer?

Why would I ask such a silly question?

Hell yeah, the B-21 Bomber’s a flying saucer, if not literally, then metaphorically.

In other words, it’s not merely some incremental evolution of the B-2, as the Air Force’s artistic rendering would have us believe.

It’s something different.

One intriguing factor in the whole B-21 story is the language used by military authorities. For example, they have repeatedly said the bomber is based on a “very mature” technology. Yet, they also have said that even though the underlying technology is mature, that doesn’t mean it’s known to the public.

Very mature, not known to the public.

Translation: They’ve been flying this thing, in one form or another, for 70 years or so.

But I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. It’s all in Flying Saucers!

Will the B-21 bomber operate in low-Earth orbit?

Posted on Feb. 4, 2019

Noticed this Popular Mechanics article, where Air Force Chief of Staff Dave Goldfein suggests a future tanker will operate in low-Earth orbit. Perhaps this is because the new B-21 bomber will operate there?

https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/aviation/a26079489/no-stealth-tanker-kc-x/

From the article: Then again, money might be less of a consideration than we think. In his interview with AvWeek, Goldfein remarked that his next generation tanker could “operate at low-Earth orbit” and that while it might sound “a little bit odd” for him to discuss a future tanker with Air Force Space Command, it makes “perfect sense.” What he means is anyone’s guess, but here’s a stab at something that could operate along those lines: a tanker that could stay in orbit for months or even years at a time, much like the X-37B spaceplane, and then descend down into airspace to deliver fuel to friendly aircraft before accelerating back up into the relative safety of orbit again. Whatever the case, it sounds exciting…and expensive.