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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

There Is Just 1 Reason Why Australia Wants the B-21 Raider Bomber

B-21 Raider
B-2 Bomber. The B-21 Raider will look very similar.

Will the B-21 Raider Be Heading to Australia? It Is Possible, Thanks to the Threat from China: During and after the Second World War, nations worldwide operated long-range bombers. However, with the introduction of long-range missiles, and multirole combat aircraft, only three nations now maintain fleets of bombers. The United States, Russia, and China are currently the only countries flying bombers – as even France and the UK have retired their heavy warbirds.

However, there are now reports that a fourth nation may join the exclusive bomber club: Australia.

Why the B-21 for Australia? The China Military Threat

Australians all should rejoice as the nation down under could operate the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider in the next decade. While the land that abounds in nature’s gift is girt by sea, Australia’s Defence Minister Richard Marles has voiced that the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) could seek to acquire the Raider.

Australia is very concerned that China’s rising military might could imperil Canberra’s overall regional security.

In an interview earlier this month with The Australian, Marles told reporters the RAAF was considering the next-generation stealth bomber. That bold statement came days after United States Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told The Strategist that the Pentagon was “willing to talk about anything that there was an interest in from the Australian perspective that we could help them with.”

However, this would be a significant shift from current U.S. policy, which has primarily opposed equipping even the closest allies with military equipment and weapons of high strategic significance – notably nuclear-powered submarines and strategic bombers and even the F-22 Raptor years ago.

For those reasons, the United States Air Force has been the sole operator of the Rockwell B-1B Lancer and the Northrop B-2 Spirit, even as the RAAF is one of several U.S. partners that have adopted the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. Australia is now acquiring the F-35s to replace its F/A-18 Hornets that entered service in the mid-1980s. The RAAF currently has a fleet of 50 of the fifth-generation multirole fighters, and that number is expected to grow to 72 as part of the $17 billion AIR 6000 Phase 2A/B program, with all of the stealth aircraft expected to be fully operational by 2023.

Cost Sharing Measure? Analysis

Canberra’s interest in the B-21 Raider could be seen as a good opportunity for the United States Air Force, which is now on track to acquire at least 100 of the stealth aircraft – while some officials have called for as many as 179. A partnership with Australia could help bring the developmental costs down, and producing more of the aircraft would likely reduce the cost per aircraft.

“I don’t think that there’s any fundamental limitation on the areas in which we can cooperate,” Kendall added. “If Australia had a requirement for long-range strike … then we’d be willing to have a conversation with them about that.”

B-21 Raider

B-2 Bomber. Image: Creative Commons.

Beyond the cost reductions, it would mean that several B-21s would be based in Australia, reducing the need for bomber rotations to Guam – freeing the U.S. Air Force’s own bombers to other missions, including deployments to Europe. Though some experts have suggested that any RAAF Raiders might be only capable of conventional strikes, those aircraft could still serve as a powerful deterrent to Beijing.

Advance Australia Fair” indeed.

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.

Written By

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Terry

    August 30, 2022 at 10:32 am

    RAAF was the only allied user of the F-111m which was also a nuclear capable, state-of-the art aircraft at the time.

  2. Old Desert Coyote

    August 30, 2022 at 11:02 am

    Back during the Big one(World War Two) while the B-17’s and B-24’s were bombing the hell out of Germany the same airplane made few bombing missions in the Pacific theater. Most bombing raids were carried out by the B-25. Hell by 1943 most B-26’s were with drawn from the Pacific and sent to Europe.

    So what did the big boys do in the pacific? Well to put it mildly the were snoops. The flew long range reconnaissance missions. Hell a Jap couldn’t even go out and have a SAKI with his favorite Gisha without a B-17 looking over his shoulder.

    Today with Australia square in China’s sights, Hell Australia has 26.7 million (for reference Taiwan has 23.9 million) and Australia has 1.5 million Chinese people living there. Oh did I fail to mention that Australia has every Resource that China lacks most to become a self sufficient world power. You know the Important stuff, like agricultural products, Oil, Coal, Iron Ore, Aluminum ore, diamonds, etc. And The Distance from China to Northern Australia about the same as Las Angles to Hawaii, That is too dammed close. And in case you missed it China has been successful in taking almost total control of Guadalcanal, (something the Japanese couldn’t do in their move on Australia) back in the big one. Now ask your self why would they want to do that.

    Now to further muddy the waters, what if 25% of the 1.6 million Chinese people living in Australia, suddenly become armed with modern weapons and start pushing for an Autonomous zone, and Australia starts pushing back?
    Can you say Donbas in the Ukraine??? Then China evokes the Putin Doctrine!!!

  3. Steve

    August 30, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    Coyote:
    The article is about the B-21… Not about B-17s, B-24s, B-26s, your racist tendencieses, or your hypotheses about what China may or may not do.
    Eesh You sounded more like a hyped-up Democrat ranting about injustices as their criminal heroes slide on to glory in their failed media, than a post about a bomber.
    See, now you’ve got me goin’ too. 🙂

  4. Froike

    August 30, 2022 at 12:48 pm

    One Caveat….Regardless of origin or ethnicity, 99.9 Percent of people that lived under Communist Rule would never want to go back to that way of life.

  5. Old Desert Coyote

    August 30, 2022 at 2:03 pm

    In a reply to Steve, I was just pointing out why it is necessary for Australia to have a long range stealth aircraft like the B-21. Long range missions require a multi man crew as they may fly for 24 hours or more. The Aircraft must also have sufficient space in bays for all kinds of sophisticated sensor equipment. That sensor equipment must be operated by personnel abord the craft. Which will require more space.

    Secondly look at what resources China lacks to become a major world power. Then look at the resources that Australia has (2200 miles away) through seas that China has control over. NOTE all those artificial islands that china built in the South China Sea,that are now military bases. The Chinese build up of Fiery Cross Reef is almost complete and that Air/Naval facility is with in fighter bomber range of most of North West Australia. Now if China builds Air And Naval facilities in Guadalcanal (as the treaty allows them to do) That will put a major Chinese Military Installation with in Fighter Bomber range of all of northern and North Eastern Australia.

    It sure looks to me like China is building a ring around Australia so as to influence/control Australian actions an international trade.

  6. cobo

    August 30, 2022 at 3:50 pm

    Let’s flip this around. After all, we’re spending the money. Quit whining for China. Let’s arm our friends and go destroy their Chinese dreams. Just like that. What we take, we keep.

  7. Omega 13

    August 30, 2022 at 4:48 pm

    The B-21 looks about as much like the B-2 as an F-22 looks like an F-35. The only similarity is the flying wing design.

  8. straya cunt

    September 1, 2022 at 1:09 am

    As an Australian:

    Fuck yeah

  9. Mark WILLIAMS

    September 13, 2022 at 8:12 pm

    Which Version Will Australia Acquire?
    The Origial or the anti gravity version?

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