The U.S. Air Force plans to designate Ellsworth AF Base in South Dakota as the location of its B-21 Raider bomber aircraft, the service branch said Wednesday. The Air Force chose Ellsworth AFB to host the first operational B-21 and its related training operations due to the installation’s capacity to handle simultaneous missions with reduced costs and minimal impact on operations.
Subsequent Air Force installations will get B-21 aircraft upon availability ahead of the service’s plans to phase out its B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit aircrafts. The Air Force will make a formal B-21 basing decision in 2021 following environmental and regulatory procedures. Northrop Grumman won a $511 million contract in 2015 to produce 100 of the B-21 bombers for the Air Force.