The Air Force announced that it selected Tinker Air Force Base to coordinate maintenance and sustainment of the B-21 Raider, the next generation long-range strike bomber.
”This announcement underscores how important Tinker Air Force Base is to the future success of the U.S. military,” said Roy H. Williams, president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. “As the largest single-site employer in Oklahoma and the hub of our aerospace defense industry, the continued growth of Tinker’s maintenance and repair work is also a positive sign of growth for the region’s economy.”
The Air Force Sustainment Center at Tinker AFB has an Air Logistics Complex with a deep and accomplished history. In selecting Tinker AFB, Air Force leaders acknowledged that the organization has the right knowledge and expertise to support planning for the bomber’s depot maintenance.
“With a talented workforce and decades of experience in aircraft maintenance, Tinker AFB is the right place for this critical mission,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather A. Wilson.
The decision to use Tinker marks the next milestone in the development and eventual deployment of the B-21, a long-range and highly survivable aircraft capable of penetrating air defenses and conducting a range of critical missions. The plane is expected to be delivered in the mid-2020s.
Robins AFB in Georgia and Hill AFB in Utah will support Tinker AFB to ensure the advanced B-21 is maintained and, when necessary, overhauled and upgraded. The workforce at the bases will also be equipped to rebuild parts, assemblies or subassemblies of the plane as well as testing and reclaiming equipment as necessary for depot activations.
Edwards AFB in California was selected as the location of the B-21’s testing and evaluation. Northrop Grumman’s Melbourne, Florida facility is the site of the B-21 Raider design and development headquarters. The B-21 is in the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the acquisition cycle.