Rounds Visits B-21 Production Facility, Provides Update
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today issued a statement on the progress of the new B-21 Raider bomber upon visiting its production facility:
“The B-21 is one of the most advanced aircraft to ever be developed,” said Rounds. “We are getting closer to bringing this state-of-the-art platform home to Ellsworth Air Force Base. While much of the information I received on my visit is classified, I am pleased to report the B-21 is on time and on budget. The public can expect the B-21 to be revealed later this year. This aircraft will play a crucial role in the defense of our nation and will have a significant economic impact on the Rapid City area for generations to come.”
- As governor, Rounds successfully advocated for the removal of Ellsworth Air Force Base (AFB) from the Department of Defense’s proposed closure list during a Base Realignment and Closure 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.
- In March 2019, the Air Force announced Ellsworth AFB was the preferred location for the first home of the B-21 Raider bomber.
- In December 2019, Rounds, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, secured full funding for the B-21 bomber program with the signing of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020.
- In January 2021, Rounds’ provision to address the Air Force’s bomber shortfall, which directly supports B-21 bomber program and Ellsworth AFB, became law as part of the NDAA for FY 2021.
- In June 2021, Rounds announced that Ellsworth AFB would officially be the Air Force’s first base to receive the new B-21.
- In December 2021, Rounds secured key B-21 funding in the NDAA for FY 2022. In anticipation of the B-21 arrival, funding included construction at Ellsworth Air Force Base and continued B-21 development.