A senior Pentagon official said the U.S. Air Force’s new B-21 Bomber aircraft is ready to make its first flight after completing all developmental checkpoints, Military.com reported Wednesday. Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, Air Force military deputy to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition at the Pentagon, announced the progress during a meeting with a Senate Armed Services subcommittee.
"Our next major milestone is first flight," he said. “We got past critical design review."
The Air Force also completed the developmental milestone of the first B-21 in December. Service officials expect the aircraft to reach initial operating capability in the mid-2020s.
Northrop Grumman is building the B-21 bombers under a potential $55 billion contract with the Air Force. The service intends to acquire 100 of the aircraft to be based at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.