• The U.S. last introduced a new bomber over 30 years ago
  • The military aircraft is developed by Northrop Grumman
  • The B-21 will replace the USAF's existing fleet of B-1 and B-2 bombers

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) is all set to rollout its latest highly secretive long-range, nuclear-capable stealth bomber, B-21 Raider. The military aircraft developed by Northrop Grumman will be unveiled on Dec. 2.

"The U.S. last introduced a new bomber over 30 years ago. The B-21 Raider will provide our nation with a formidable combat capability that can be deployed across a range of operations in the highly contested environments of the future," Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a briefing Thursday.

Northrop Grumman announced the rollout date on Twitter, saying it will "unveil the world's first sixth-generation aircraft," and shared a dramatic video showcasing an aircraft hidden by a white sheet.

The unveiling ceremony will be held at Northrop Grumman's facility in Palmdale, California, where the B-21 is in production now.

The public unveiling of a new strategic bomber is reportedly a once-in-a-generation event and a host of Pentagon officials are expected to attend it.

The event is expected to generate international interest at a time when global tensions are high, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, China's rapidly modernizing military, tensions in Taiwan unification and the South China Sea, and Iran's tough stance on a nuclear deal.

The announcement comes amid reports that China's next-gen intercontinental deep strike bomber, H-20, is nearing its first flight.

Although details about H-20 still remain largely mysterious, experts say it may not be a true rival to B-21. However, as its first intercontinental-range bomber, H-20 is expected to be transformational for China.

The B-21 Raider will replace the USAF's existing, aging fleet of B-1 and B-2 bombers and potentially also the B-52 bombers.

With its long-range, highly survivable, penetrating strike and stealth capabilities, the B-21 Rider bomber will serve as the backbone of the future bomber fleet of the USAF and be a key component of the nation's three-pronged military force structure. The USAF is planning to procure a minimum of 100 B-21 Raider bombers.

The B-21 will feature a "flying-wing structure" and next-generation radar-absorbent materials, providing the aircraft with stealth capabilities, Airforce Technology reported.

The design includes a large and flexible payload bay that is expected to carry existing and future weapons. The aircraft's design will allow for easy technological upgrades to meet the evolving threats and challenges, providing the flexibility to launch both conventional and nuclear munitions.

The USAF bomber is named B-21 Raider to honor the Doolittle Raiders, the USAF men who launched 16 B-25s off the flight deck of the USS Hornet in a surprise attack during World War II in April 1942, which led Japan to withdraw combat forces for home defense. The name also signifies the aircraft is the 21st century's first bomber.

Northrop Grumman is currently working on a total of six B-21 test aircraft that are under different stages of final assembly. The company won the contract to manufacture the long-range strike bomber (LRS-B) in 2015, beating Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

In May, the USAF and Northrop Grumman completed B-21's load calibration test and confirmed the aircraft will take its first flight next year. Following the official unveiling of the bomber aircraft, the company is expected to continue its test campaign to validate the aircraft's performance and identify the necessary enhancements for the weapon system.

An artist's concept of B-21 Raider. Official website of Northrop Grumman