Understanding the B-21 Raider: America’s Deterrence Bomber

Arlington, VA | March 23, 2023 — The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce a new entry in its Research Studies series, Understanding the B-21 Raider: America’s Deterrence Bomber by Mark Gunzinger, Director of Future Concepts and Capability Assessments at the Mitchell Institute.

Today’s U.S. bomber force falls short of having the penetrating strike capacity needed to meet the objectives of the 2022 National Defense Strategy. Thirty years of successive inventory cuts and a failure to modernize the fleet have left the U.S. bomber force as primarily a stand-off force that cannot penetrate contested areas. The good news is the first of at least 100 stealthy B-21 Raider bombers will soon join the Air Force’s active inventory.

In the Mitchell Institute’s analysis, Mark Gunzinger highlights B-21 attributes that will ensure theater commanders can strike any target in contested and highly contested areas with precision over long ranges. The report also assesses how penetrating bombers will provide the most cost-effective means to attack targets at the scale needed to rapidly blunt and then defeat a PLA invasion in the Western Pacific. No other force will have the range, survivability, and weapons capacity to achieve this National Defense Strategy pacing requirement—plus remain prepared to rapidly swing to another theater to prevent a second conflict and deter nuclear attacks against the U.S. homeland.  

The Mitchell Institute’s Research Studies serve as an authoritative avenue for innovative, in-depth, insightful, and effective ideas and solutions for strengthening America’s aerospace power.

For media inquiries, email our publications team at publications.mitchellaerospacepower@afa.org

Copies of Research Studies can be downloaded at https://www.mitchellaerospacepower.org/publications

Image: Design by Madeline Portway; photos: U.S. Air Force

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