The U.S. Air Force has assigned the name B-21 Raider to the long range strike bomber aircraft.
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James announced Monday the plane’s official name at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, the service branch said Monday.
James and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein selected the name Raider as part of the naming contest led by the Air Force Global Strike Command and in recognition of the Doolittle Raiders, which spearheaded a surprise attack against Japanese forces during World War II in 1942.
The service branch expects the B-21 Raider aircraft, which is under the engineering and manufacturing development phase, to reach initial operational capability in mid-2020s.
“The B-21’s name embodies the legacy and power projection of the Air Force’s long range strike capability,” Tom Vice, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman’s aerospace systems business, said in a statement released Monday.
The military branch selected Northrop in October 2015 to serve as the prime contractor to build and deliver the B-21 Raider.
The official name was announced seven months after the Air Force unveiled the concept design of the bomber.