Next B-21 stealth bomber to be called “Raider”

The Air Force’s next generation B-21 stealth bomber will be dubbed the “Raider,” a nod to the World War II-era exploits of the Doolittle Raiders.

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein chose the name among a list of finalists culled out of 2,100 submissions, the service branch announced Monday.

Gaining fame in World War II, the Doolittle Raiders launched 16 B-25 Mitchell bombers on April 18, 1942 off the deck of the USS Hornet in the first retaliatory bombing of Japan after its attack on the U.S. naval fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Surviving members of the group have gathered for celebrated reunions in recent years at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Lt. Col. Richard Cole, a Dayton native who is 100 years old and lives in Texas, is the sole living survivor and was co-pilot to Jimmy Doolittle on the raid.

The B-21 is a next-generation bomber under development and scheduled to join an aging Air Force bomber fleet in the mid-2020s. The Air Force plans to buy 80 to 100 of the bombers to replace the decades-old B-52H Stratofortress and the swing-wing B-1B Lancer.

The Air Force selected Northrop Grumman to build the bomber, and Virginia-based Orbital ATK’s Dayton operations was named as one of the seven primary subcontractors in March.

The Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office in Washington, D.C., oversees the development of the long-range strike bomber.

An artist’s concept of the future jet showed the boomerang-shaped bomber resembles the original design of the existing Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit bomber, observers have said.

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