ⓒ JoongAng Ilbo / JoongAng Ilbo Japanese version2022.09.22 17:02
America’s next-generation stealth strategic bomber, the B-21 Radar, will make its first appearance later this year. The arrival of a new bomber for the first time in 30 years is expected to significantly improve the US military’s long-range attack capability. It is also listed as a new strategic asset that will fly to the Korean Peninsula (Korean Peninsula) to deter nuclear and missile threats from North Korea.
The US Air Force will unveil the B21 for the first time the first week of December at Northrop Grumman’s aircraft manufacturing facility in Palmdale, California. The US Air Force plans to phase out the B1 “Lancer” supersonic bomber and the B2 “Spirit” stealth bomber and replace them with the B21. More than 100 aircraft are expected to be deployed from 2025.
The United States has high expectations for the introduction of the B21. Indeed, it can not only replace the existing bombers, which are seriously aging, but also aim for strategic efficiency and budget savings.
In the case of the B1, which was actually produced in the 1980s, 17 were retired in September last year and 45 are currently in service. According to the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START2) signed by the United States and Russia in 1993, the B1 cannot carry nuclear weapons. Also, he has no stealth abilities.
Since the late 1990s, the US Air Force has introduced only about 20 B2 stealth strategic bombers. Indeed, the Cold War ended and no further production was made. In the end, production costs, including development costs, snowballed to nearly $2 billion per aircraft. Experts say the maintenance cost is not minimal as it is an old stealth aircraft which was developed 30 years ago.
The B21 is a flying wing similar in appearance to the B2. Both were developed by Northrop Grumman.
However, the aircraft is smaller than the B2, and the armament load is about half, or about 13.5 tons. Experts predict that the aircraft’s small size will make it stealthier and more efficient to operate.
There is no need to obsess over ammo load capacity anymore as it is equipped with various smart bombs capable of precision-guided bombardments. Although the amount of armaments carried has decreased, it can also carry a “Super Bunker Buster”, a super large conventional bomb that destroys underground facilities.
The B21 is expected to carry not only tactical nuclear weapons but also hypersonic missiles (AGM-183ARRW), which are currently in the final stages of development. The missile flies at speeds in excess of Mach 5 and has a range of 1,600 kilometers.
More than 100 planes will be produced and the launch price per plane will drop to the level of 550 million dollars.
Yang Wook, vice researcher of Asan Policy Research Institute, said: “If the B21 becomes a force to some extent, it will be possible not only to deploy it on the Korean peninsula, but also to deploy it temporarily or cyclically. . than the B1 and B52 bombers, which lack stealth capabilities. If deployed at any time, it will further threaten extended US deterrence.
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