The replacement for the iconic B-2 Spirit bomber has a name and a rendering. Formerly known as the Long Range Strike Bomber, the new stealth aircraft will be called the B-21 when it finally enters service. The news was announced at the Air Warfare Symposium and on Twitter by Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James.
Alongside the official name, Secretary James also released the first official rendering of the new bomber. Like the B-2, it will take the form of a flying wing. In fact, the overall appearance of the new bomber looks like more an evolution of the current Spirit bomber than a clean-sheet redesign.
It looks like the engines – a major source of detectable infrared energy – are better concealed and the intakes have been moved forward and are almost integrated with the cockpit. Of course, these are just renderings, and the final product built by Northrop Grumman could look quite different.
As for the rest of the B-21's name, Foxtrot Alpha reports that Secretary James said airmen would have the opportunity to suggest a name for the service's new frontline bomber. It's hard to predict what that will be, though. There hasn't exactly been a convention for the USAF's bomber fleet – there's the aforementioned Spirit, the B-1B Lancer, and of course, the B-52 Stratofortress.
Check out the tweet and the rendering from Secretary James down below.