SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The new B-21 Raider, a nuclear stealth bomber plane, is being unveiled Friday in Palmdale, CA.
The plane, meant to replace the B-2 Spirit (also a nuclear stealth bomber) and increase the nation’s ability to carry out nuclear war, has been built by defense contractor Northrop-Grumman (NG), who say that it was designed to “be long-range, highly survivable and capable of carrying a mix of conventional and nuclear ordnance.”
Many politicians are on-route to California for the unveiling, including Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD).
Johnson sent videos of his trip to KELOLAND News, talking about the journey and noting that he is traveling with Rounds and Sen. Wicker (R-MS) on the way to the Air Force facility in Palmdale.
“The unveiling of the B-21 was a proud moment for our country, our defense community, and South Dakota,” Johnson said in a press release after the ceremony. “It won’t be long until Ellsworth Air Force Base is the ‘Home of the Raider’ – it took a lot of hard work from the delegation to get to this point, and I’m confident it will be an asset to the West River community and our military. I’m grateful I got to witness this moment.”
Rounds, speaking to KELOLAND News in July of 2019, said that the plane is needed in order for the U.S. to protect itself from other countries, highlighting China specifically.
“They are a real long term threat to the U.S. until such time we have an agreement that we can have confidence in, that we can live side by side we have to be in a position to assure our own security and that means being strong enough to make sure China decides it’s not in their best interest to attack us,” Rounds said at the time.
Today in a statement to KELOLAND News, still waiting for the reveal, Rounds said the following:
This is the day we’ve been looking forward to. America gets to meet the most advanced weapon system ever developed by our country to defend ourselves and our allies. This is a really great day for Ellsworth Air Force Base, which will be the home of not only the training squadrons, but of the first operational squadron as well. We look forward to welcoming the B-21 stealth bomber and its support teams to the Black Hills of South Dakota in the near future.Sen. Mike Rounds
Once the B-21s are ready for delivery, they will be housed at Ellsworth Air Force base in South Dakota. Ellsworth will also serve as the training ground for B-21 pilots.