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By Special Programs West
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was in Southern California, U.S. Air Force Plant 42 on Dec. 2, for the unveiling of the first new American bomber of the 21st century — the B-21 Raider, a long-range stealth aircraft with more than a decade in the making.
According to the Air Force, “the B-21 Raider will be a component of a larger family of systems for conventional Long Range Strike, including Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, electronic attack, communication and other capabilities.” It also features highly advanced systems — most of which remain classified — and is built with open architecture, which will allow “rapid upgradeability” for future technologies.
DCMA’s Special Programs West contract management office participated in the unveiling ceremony, which included several senior Defense Department officials and congressional representatives.
The B-21 contract and program is administered by DCMA Special Programs, a command that works on some of the most classified and advanced capabilities critical to the nation’s defense. The unveiling the B-21 provided a glimpse into the work of the agency office.
“From design and development in the SP South CMO, to key suppliers in our SP East CMO, and to the production, final assembly and acceptance of the B-21s in the SP West CMO, the program support team spans a large supply chain, and highlights the teamwork required to get to this critical point in the program,” said Tom Mulqueen, SP West director who attended the unveiling.
SP West provides technical and quality surveillance on the production and delivery to include flight acceptance of B-21 aircraft.
“I am honored and proud to be part of the team delivering the most advanced strike aircraft within the U.S. arsenal,” said Tommy S. Cheng, SP West quality assurance specialist. “Bringing our experience and knowledge to bear, our team is working tirelessly with Northrop Grumman and the USAF program office to ensure the B-21 Raider will meet evolving threats and mission requirements anywhere in the world and be a deterrence to the enemies of the United States and our allies.”
The B-21 is named in honor of the airmen who executed the daring World War II Doolittle Raid, and represents the Air Force’s first sixth-generation aircraft. Among its other roles, the Air Force said the B-21, “will form the backbone of the future Air Force bomber force consisting of B-21s and B-52s. Designed to operate in tomorrow’s high-end threat environment, the B-21 will play a critical role in ensuring America’s enduring airpower capability.”
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