The U.S. Air Force’s B-21 Raider, built by Northrop Grumman, has taken its first flight at Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, where it has been under development as the sixth-generation nuclear-capable stealth bomber, Reuters reported Sunday.
The Air Force plans to order 100 B-21 bomber aircraft with long-range and mid-air refueling capabilities to bring conventional and nuclear weapons to U.S. forces worldwide.
B-21 has a flying wing shape and will replace the service branch’s B-1 and B-2 bomber fleet.
“The B-21 Raider is in flight testing. Flight testing is a critical step in the test campaign managed by the Air Force Test Center and 412th Test Wings B-21 Combined Test Force,” said Ann Stefanek, a spokesperson for the Air Force.
In September, Northrop announced it had built the first B-21 test article equipped with primary mission systems to support the flight test campaign for the program.