, 2023-01-02 09:00:00,
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The Air Force’s new B-21 Raider stealth bomber that debuted Dec. 2 is safely back in its hangar in California, but you can bet China’s keyboard warriors are furiously clicking away trying to unravel its secrets via cyber-espionage.
You, me and military officers in China and other bad guy countries all want to know four big secrets about the B-21.
First, can the B-21 fly without pilots? Original acquisition documents called for the B-21 bomber to be “capable of manned and unmanned operations.” Military drones take the man or woman out to save weight and increase endurance flight time. No one doubts the Air Force pilots can stick it out for long missions. Back in 2001, two B-2 bomber pilots logged a 44-hour mission from Missouri to Afghanistan and back. Bomber pilots train in simulators for 72-hour missions (and you thought the center seat on Southwest Airlines was tough.)
However, it’s not hard to picture a B-21 in the future on an unmanned mission, high above enemy missile fields, deterring attack by spotting missiles as they come out of hiding. One day the B-21 may be the first warplane fully certified to operate with or without a crew.
Second, how do the hidden engines work? Notice you cannot even see the B-21’s engines….
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