EGLIN AFB, Fla. (WKRG) — The name of the new B-21 Raider, the latest stealth bomber technology to be unveiled Friday in Calif., has ties to the Gulf Coast.

Airmen at Eglin Air Force Base in Okaloosa County submitted the winning name ‘Raider’ for the aircraft. The selection process had more than 2,100 entries.

The name is in honor of the historic Doolittle Raiders, U.S. Army Air Force men known for their surprise attack against Japan during World War II on April 18, 1942, in retaliation to Pearl Harbor.

The Air Force says the mission of the B-21 Raider made by Northrop Grumman is to “be a dual-capable penetrating strike stealth bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions. The B-21 will form the backbone of the future Air Force bomber force consisting of B-21s and B-52s. Designed to operate in tomorrow’s high-end threat environment, the B-21 will play a critical role in ensuring America’s enduring airpower capability.”

(U.S. Air Force Graphic)

B-21 Raider facts

Primary Function: Nuclear-capable, penetrating strike stealth bomber
Lead Command: Air Force Global Strike Command
Inventory: Minimum of 100 aircraft
Average Unit Procurement Cost (APUC): $550 million (base year 2010 dollars) / $639 million (base year 2019 dollars) / $692 million (base year 2022 dollars)
*APUC is the total costs of all procurement funding to include, aircraft flyaway costs, support equipment, training, spares, and engineering change orders divided by a minimum of 100 aircraft.
*Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates directed B-21 Average Procurement Unit Cost as a key performance parameter as the best means to control costs.
Munitions: Nuclear and conventional
Operational: Mid-2020s

The first light for the B-21 Raider is expected in 2023. Watch the unveiling ceremony from the Northrop Grumman facility in Palmdale, Cali. at 6:30 p.m. central time.

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