Rounds: Ellsworth AFB Officially Named First Home of the B-21 Raider Bomber
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today announced that Ellsworth Air Force Base will officially be the Air Force’s first base to receive the new B-21 Raider bomber.
During a call this afternoon with Air Force Global Strike Commander General Timothy Ray, Sen. Rounds was informed that Ellsworth has been officially designated as the future home of the B-21.
“I am pleased that the U.S. Air Force has officially selected Ellsworth Air Force Base as the first home of the B-21 Raider bomber,” Rounds said. “This landmark decision makes certain that South Dakota will continue to play a critical role in our national defense. The selection of Ellsworth is a testament to the hard work of our Air Force personnel on the ground at Ellsworth and the communities of Box Elder and Rapid City that have worked hard to improve the long-term suitability of the base for this new state-of-the-art aircraft.
“As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I’ve worked actively to secure full funding for the B-21 program being developed by Northrup Grumman for the Air Force. I can tell you that this is one of the most advanced weapon systems to ever be developed. The B-21 will help deter our adversaries, especially China, thanks to its long-range, speed, stealth and payload. This weapon system will play a crucial role in the defense of our nation and have a huge economic impact on the Rapid City area for the next 50 years.”
In March 2019, the Air Force announced Ellsworth was the preferred location for the first home of the B-21 Raider bomber.
In January 2021, Rounds’ provision to address the Air Force’s bomber shortfall, which directly supports B-21 bomber program and Ellsworth Air Force Base, became law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021.
In December 2019, Rounds secured full funding for the B-21 bomber program with the signing of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2020.
As governor, Rounds successfully advocated for the removal of Ellsworth from the Department of Defense’s proposed closure list during a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round in 2005. Following that effort, he led a legislative effort to establish the South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority (SDEDA). Now a permanent fixture, the SDEDA’s mission is to protect, strengthen and promote the base.