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B-21 Bombers Are Coming To Ellsworth Air Force Base

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An artist's rendering of a B-21 Raider at Ellsworth Air Force Base.
An artist's rendering of a B-21 Raider at Ellsworth Air Force Base.
Air Force

A nuclear-capable stealth plane is coming to western South Dakota. 

The United States Air Force is selecting Ellsworth Air Force Base as the first home for B-21 bombers. The planes are currently under development. 

US Senator John Thune says it’s exciting news. Ellsworth was almost closed 16 years ago by the Base Realignment and Closure commission, or BRAC. 

“It’s a once in a generation historic opportunity for South Dakota. When we’ve gone from—in 2005—BRAC, to the B-21, it’s an amazing story. I’m very humbled to have been a part of it.” 

Thune calls the B-21 Raider a next-generation bomber. 

“And you’ve got a weapons system that I think is going to be well equipped to serve our country’s national security interests, not only currently but well into the future. It’s being designed with that in mind,” Thune says. “The long-range strike capability. The extended deterrence that comes with this. Those are all features of the B-21 that will serve our country very well.” 

The B-21s will gradually replace the existing B-1 bombers at Ellsworth, some of which have already been decommissioned.  

Officials say the B-21 will add 3,000 people to the Black Hills area.