The air forces of other nations are already considering the new B-21 bomber – The US Air Force is so confident in the next generation of B-21 Raiders that it is even considering partnering with other nations for long-range strike aircraft and possibly future export, though the stealth Raider won’t be ready for mass production until 2030.

The Secretary of the Air Force, during a recent visit to Australia, was asked by a think tank analyst if Australians could participate in the development of the bomber and even one day fly it. Secretary Frank Kendall said the Americans would consider the possibility if formally requested by Canberra.

Secretary of the Air Force open to the idea

When Kendall was questioned by the Australian Institute of Strategic Policy on the likelihood of some type of B-21 deal, Kendall responded, “I think the United States, in general, would be willing to talk to Australia about anything they’d be interested in from a Australian view and that we could help with them.

Australia needs American reassurance and continued dialogue

Kendall considers two major strategic concerns regarding the United States’ relationship with the Australian military. The Threat of China and the Year-Long Trilateral Australia, UK and USA AUKUS Partnership.

With AUKUS, the three countries will share defense technology and know-how, as well as mutual support to improve the defense industrial base and military supply chains. The other consideration is that Australia must respond to the threat from China.

Close call in the air has Australians worried

In May, a A Chinese fighter flew nearby to an Australian P-8 surveillance aircraft and threw flares and chaff near the reconnaissance aircraft. The Chinese aircraft sped past the P-8 and began to fly in front of its nose. This was considered a dangerous maneuver as the bullet contained small pieces of aluminum which were sucked into the engine of the Australian aircraft. This incident could have been disastrous.

China joins forces with Solomon Islands

Thus, Australia is interested in ways to improve its military. Additionally, China has in partnership with the Solomon Islands for a new security relationship. It’s too close for Canberra’s comfort as the Solomons are 1,200 miles from Australia. The situation in the Solomons is also worrying for the United States, especially after a US coast guard ship was denied a stopover at Guadalcanal on August 26.

B-21 is ready for Prime Time

The B-21 will be nuclear-capable and able to penetrate contested airspace through stealth. The Air Force wants to buy 100 bombers. The first flight could take place in the mid-2020s, but it is not expected in numbers until 2030. It is a flying wing design like the B-2 Spirit. The plane has a crew of two. It is 66 feet long and 164 feet wide, with a height of 16 feet.

Great range to attack anywhere in the world

As far as we know of the B-21, two Pratt & Whitney turbofans will give it 15,000 pounds of thrust and a top speed of 621 miles per hour. Its ceiling will be nearly 50,000 feet and its amazing range 6,835 miles. The idea is for the aircraft to have the capability to attack “anything, anywhere in the world, at any time”.

The bomber can carry 50,000 pounds of ammunition, including a full set of missiles and bombs as well as nuclear weapons. The Air-Surface-Standoff-Missile Seal will be the main feature.

The key senator is optimistic

The plane is said to be on time and under budget. Policy makers are delighted with its delivery. US Senator rounds of mike said it would be shown in public for the first time this year. Rounds thinks he could fly in 2023.

Let’s hit the brakes

Would the B-21 really be developed in partnership or even exported to an ally like Australia one day?

It is premature to make this decision.

Shown is a B-21 Raider artist rendering graphic. The render highlights the future stealth bomber with Edwards Air Force Base, California as the backdrop. Designed to perform long-range conventional and nuclear missions and to operate in tomorrow’s high-end threat environment, the B-21 will be a visible and flexible component of the nuclear triad. (US Air Force graphic). This is the third USAF rendering of the B-21 Raider. Note the changes in the windshield from previous official renders.

The Air Force Secretary didn’t discount the possibility out of hand, but he may have felt pressure to keep his response upbeat and optimistic so as not to disappoint the Australians. Some of the technology might be shared — not something highly classified like stealth coating — but its weapons systems technology might be something the two countries could work on together.

The main point is that Secretary Kendall is visiting the Australians and assuring US partners in the Indo-Pacific that the US will support any issues with the Chinese. This should make Canberra feel better about its current national security situation.

Biography of the expert: As editor of defense and national security in 1945, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an emerging threat expert and former US Army infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a doctorate. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/International Relations.