USA USAF Artist Rendering B21 Bomber Air Force Official 640Ellsworth selected as first base for B-21 Raider

On 10 June 2021, the Secretary of the Air Force officially selected Ellsworth AFB (SD), as the location to host the Air Force’s first operational Northrop Grumman B-21 Raiders and the formal training unit.

The B-21 was designed to replace the USAF’s ageing bomber fleet as a long-range, highly-survivable bomber capable of carrying mixed-conventional and nuclear payloads, to strike any target worldwide.

Now home to three of the four original squadrons that participated in the historic 1942 Doolittle Raid, the rich heritage continues today with Ellsworth’s selection as the first main operating base for the B-21 Raider bomber. The South Dakota air base was selected as the first home base of the B-21 based on criteria related to minimised mission impact, maximised facility reuse, minimised cost and reduced overhead.

The selection came after a thorough environmental impact analysis, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. Until the B-21s reach full operational capability, the 28th Bomb Wing operating the B-1B Lancer will simultaneously continue their mission at Ellsworth. The B-21 mission will eventually absorb the manpower already required by the B-1s and will result in an increase of about 1,600 Airmen with the 28th Bomb Wing.

The other two air bases that will host the B-21 are Whiteman AFB (MO) and Dyess AFB (TX). The new bombers will begin arriving at Ellsworth in the mid-2020s. In the meantime, its B-1Bs will continue providing long-range bomber support for USAF's Air Force Global Strike Command.

On 18 January 2021, Scramble Magazine wrote on the latest known planning of the arrival of the B-21 at Edwards AFB (CA).

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