WASHINGTON — After the US Air Force unveiled the first official rendering of the new B-21 bomber, you might notice an eerie similarity.
The artist rendering of Northrop Grumman's B-21 bears a striking resemblance to the original artist rendering of Northrop's B-2 stealth bomber circa 1980. The angle and the general shape of the aircraft is almost exactly the same. The most noticeable difference between the two designs is in the tail. The B-21 is shown as a tailless flying wing with a "W" shaped edge, while the B-2 concept has additional "sawtooth" edges.
While there are no known prototypes of the B-21 in existence, the rendering unveiled Feb. 26 is based on the initial design concept, according to the Air Force. The B-21 is expected to enter service in the mid-2020s, and will replace the aging B-52 Stratofortress and the B-1B Lancer bombers.
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James lifted the curtain on the B-21 Feb. 26 during the Air Force Association's air warfare symposium in Orlando, Florida.