America’s new nuclear-capable, radar-evading jet made its debut on Friday after years of secretive production.
Its testing comes at a time when the US Department of Defense is working to address concerns about a potential conflict with China in the future.
The B-21 Striker is the first American bomber in more than 30 years. Almost every aspect of his program is secret.
“This is not just another plane. This tool is the embodiment of America’s determination to protect the country we all love,” said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
The B-21 product is part of the Pentagon’s efforts to modernize the three pillars of the nuclear triangle, which includes land-launched ballistic missiles and submarine-launched nuclear warheads.
The US administration’s attention is shifting from the anti-terrorism campaigns it has focused on in recent decades to confronting China’s rapid military modernization.
China is on track to have 1,500 nuclear weapons by 2035, with developments in hypersonic weapons, cyber and space capabilities posing the most systemic challenge to US national security.