Walden in October declined to give specifics on when the first B-21 would roll off the production line but acknowledged that some “big parts” were in the process of being built. The 420th Flight Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California, was reactivated earlier that month to conduct all ground and flight testing of the Raider on behalf of the government, including the first flight.
The Air Force intends to order a minimum of 100 B-21s. However, Air Force Global Strike Command head Gen. Timothy Ray has said the service will need at least 220 bombers to meet future threats. That opens the door to a possible expansion of the B-21 program of record, as the Air Force begins retiring the B-2 and B-1B.