Australia Considers Buying US B-21 Raider Stealth Bombers For RAAF

Australia Considers Buying US B-21 Raider Stealth Bombers For RAAF
Australia Considers Buying US B-21 Raider Stealth Bombers For RAAF

Canberra - Australian Defense Minister Hon. Richard Marles has given strong hints that Australia may be considering purchasing Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider stealth bombers from the United States. This gesture was made in an interview with The Australia on 26 August 2022 when discussing the future of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

Richard Marles said the B-21 bomber, which is still in development for the US Air Force, is being examined to meet new long-range strike capability requirements. A few days earlier, US Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall mentioned the US government's willingness to discuss with Australia its interests and willingness to help.

There had been prior recommendations from Australian defense experts about potential consideration of the B-21 bomber for the RAAF's long-range strike capability that was lost when the service grounded its fleet of F-111C/G Aardvark attack bombers in 2010.

The US government still has sole discretion to decide whether to allow an ally like Australia to procure these B-21 bombers, as the distinctive high-tech defense system is something the US military hopes to keep to itself for fear of having its technology 'stolen' by other countries.

Citing the APDJ website, the recently formed AUKUS alliance could be a deal breaker, as the US hopes to use the UK and Australia to secure the Asia Pacific region as China increases its presence in the region.

Beyond that, the price of the B-21 Raider will also be a factor, although there are signs that development costs have been kept at an acceptable level. There are currently a reported six B-21s being produced by Northrop Grumman. In March 2022, the first B-21 was transferred to a calibration facility.

In May 2022, the US Air Force announced that it expected the first flight of the B-21 to be in 2023. It is expected that the B-21 stealth bomber will enter service in 2026–2027, which will gradually replace the position of the US Air Force's current flagship strategic bomber, the B-21. -1B Lancer and B-2 Spirit.

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