U.S. Air Force selects Ellsworth AFB as first B-21 Raider bomber base
- March 28, 2019
The U.S. Air Force has selected Ellsworth Air Force Base as the preferred location for the first operational B-21 Raider bomber and the formal training unit.
Whiteman AFB, Missouri, and Dyess AFB, Texas, will receive B-21s as they become available.
“These three bomber bases are well-suited for the B-21,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said. “We expect the first B-21 Raider to be delivered beginning in the mid-2020s, with subsequent deliveries phased across all three bases.”
Ellsworth AFB was selected as the first location because it provides sufficient space and existing facilities necessary to accommodate simultaneous missions at the lowest cost and with minimal operational impact across all three bases. The Air Force will incrementally retire existing B-1 Lancers and B-2 Spirits when a sufficient number of B-21s are delivered.
Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, and Minot AFB, North Dakota, will continue to host the B-52 Stratofortress which is expected to continue conducting operations through 2050.
The Air Force will make its final B-21 basing decision following compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and other regulatory and planning processes. That decision is expected in 2021 and is part of the overall Air Force Strategic Basing Process.