New Air Force Bomber is Coming to South Dakota
The Air Force's latest high-tech stealth bomber will officially find its first new home in South Dakota.
According to Dakota News Now, the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider will first be based at Ellsworth Air Force Base just outside of Rapid City. In 2019, Ellsworth was selected as the preferred location for the first installation of B-21's, and Wednesday's announcement made that official.
South Dakota's delegation in Washington noted the good news.
“To be selected as the main operating base, to be selected as the formal training unit and also the first squadron of the B-21 is something that is incredibly exciting,” said Senator John Thune.
Senator Mike Rounds says “this is a magnificent piece of machinery this platform is one of the most complicated systems ever developed by mankind and to have a training squadron coming right away to Ellsworth is great news for the entire state.”
Ellsworth has been flying the B-1 Lancer since 1987. That plane will be slowly phased out as the B-21 is brought up to full speed.
Ellsworth has also been home to some of the most iconic planes in the history of the United States military. The base was established in 1942 as Rapid City Army Air Base to train B-17 units to fight in Europe. Following the war, after a brief deactivation, the base underwent massive improvements to accommodate the B-29 Superfortress, the plane that dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.
After switching to the short lived, and honestly ugly, B-36 Peacemaker, in 1957 the base saw the arrival of the iconic and massive B-52 Stratofortress, which flew from the base for the next 30 years and is still in service today.
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