B-21 stealth bomber: US Air Force wants help in naming new aircraft

The US Air Force is looking for suggestions on what to call its latest stealth bomber.US Air Force

This is the latest addition to the US Air Force's fleet: the B-21 stealth bomber. The aircraft has been designed by US defence technology firm Northrop Grumman as part of a multi-billion dollar programme by the US to develop a new fleet of long-range strategic bombers. Now, the Air Force is looking for suggestions on what to call it.

You wouldn't be mistaken in thinking the B-21 looks familiar. Aesthetically, the plane appears almost identical to the B-2 Spirit bomber designed by the same firm in the 1970s. According to Ars Technica, the development contract for the B-21 is $21bn (£15bn, €19bn), while each subsequent craft will cost $550mn (£395mn, €505mn) to churn out.

According to Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, the reason the B-21 shares "some resemblance" to the B-2 is because what's already there is so good. "The B-21 has been designed from the beginning based on a set of requirements that allows the use of existing and mature technology," she said.

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Meanwhile, the internet is proving its usual helpful self in coming up with names for the latest member of the US Air Force family. Some of our favourites include "B-21 Hindsight", "Batwing" and "The Bottomless Money Pit", which is clearly intended as a clandestine reference to the fact that the US Military is devoting a top-line budget of $120bn (£86bn, €110bn) to its Air Force for the 2017 fiscal year.

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