SECRETARY OF the Air Force Deborah Lee James has confirmed that the US Air Force’s new Northrop Grumman B-21 Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) is to be named Raider. James announced the official name for the aircraft today, September 19, during her keynote speech at the Air Force Association’s Air Space and Cyber Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, in National Harbor, Maryland.
When James announced the B-21 designation for LRS-B at the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, on February 26, she also initiated a naming competition. Air Force Global Strike Command launched a website inviting active-duty, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve and civilian airmen, along with their dependents and retirees, to propose a name for the aircraft. By the time the deadline for submissions had been reached on May 5, more than 4,600 entries had been received.
James announced today that two servicemen, Lt Col Jamie Hernandez, commander of the 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, and Tech Sgt Derek White of the Maryland Air National Guard’s 175th Civil engineering Squadron, have been declared winners of the contest, after submitted papers giving compelling reasons why it should be named Raider. They said the name would honour the famous Doolittle Raiders of World War Two. To announce the name, the last surviving Doolittle Raider, 101-year-old retired Lt Col Dick Cole, was called onto the stage.
As previously reported on AFD, Northrop Grumman was awarded the initial LRS-B contract on October 27 last year. Current USAF planning is for a fleet of 100 B-21 Raiders.