Black Hills prepares for recently unveiled B-21 Raider

The Early evening news on KOTA Territory TV
Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 8:20 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Friday night, the new B-21 Raider was unveiled in Palmdale, Calif., and excitement is still in the air in regard to this new piece of technology that will call the Black Hills its home.

South Dakota Representative Dusty Johnson was one of the many people who were able to see the B-21 Raider unveiled for the first time.

“I mean it was incredible. The B-21 Bomber is the most advanced piece of machinery and the most advanced aircraft that has ever been developed. The fact that it is going to call South Dakota home is just incredibly cool,” said Johnson.

Because the B-21 Raider will call the Black Hills home, the mayors of Box Elder and Rapid City were also present at the event. They both shared some of their opinions on what will continue to happen as Ellsworth Air Force Base waits for the aircraft.

“We want to make sure that quality of life is something that the airmen and the families want to see happen out in the community,” said Box Elder Mayor Larry Larson.

Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender reciprocated Larson’s message.

“It continues to be the role of Rapid City and Box Elder and the surrounding communities to support the Air Force, to support them and their mission,” said Allender. “They have families who attend schools here, they shop in stores here, they play in parks here, they do everything here.”

Some of the development has already started in Box Elder to make sure the quality of life is suited for the projected increase in people.

“We’ve got a children’s museum that we’re working on. We’ve got the Liberty Center which just opened up the grand opening on November 17th, and that’s fantastic. We got a master park that we’re planning,” said Larson.

Larson added that housing projects are underway for both current residents and the military personnel yet to be stationed at Ellsworth.

“We want the Air Force personnel that are coming here. We want them to feel that this is a great place to be and a place that they’d like to get station again at,” said Larson.

According to the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Office, the average cost for each B-21 Raider is $639 million as of 2019.

The SAFPAO added that the B-21 Raider will play a role in ensuring America’s air power by featuring intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, communication, electronic attack, and nuclear capabilities. The aircraft is also designed to operate in manned or unmanned operations.