MELBOURNE, Fla. --- Acting Secretary of the Air Force Matthew Donovan visited three separate sites in Florida to highlight investments in the future of flight in air, space and communications, July 19.
Donovan visited Northrop Grumman’s B-21 Design and Development Headquarters and the Kennedy Space Center to review the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle Processing Facility, as well as the newly merged L3 Harris Technologies, Inc.
The B-21 Raider will be a highly-survivable next-generation bomber with the ability to penetrate modern air defenses and hold any target at risk globally. The program has a mature and stable design and is now transitioning to manufacturing development of the first test aircraft. Northrop Grumman is utilizing its Melbourne facility for the design and development of the B-21 Raider.
“We look forward to receiving the B-21 on time and incorporating it into our future force,” Donovan said after meeting with the B-21 Raider team. “The B-21 will be a significant component of our Air Force as we continue to modernize to meet the National Defense Strategy and is a game-changing capability to win the high-end fight.”
After his visit to the B-21 Raider facility, Donovan visited Boeing’s X-37B facility.
The X-37B is the Air Force’s newest and most advanced re-entry spacecraft. The platform performs risk reduction, experimentation and concept of operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies.
“The X-37B is a key component to America’s future in space dominance,” Donovan said during his visit to the Kennedy Space Center. “As the Department of Defense’s only reusable and reliable space platform, its advancements provide a solid foundation for future investments while leveraging the great work by NASA.”
The unmanned X-37B is designed for vertical launch to low Earth orbit altitudes where it can perform long-duration space technology experimentation and testing. Upon a command from the ground, the X-37B autonomously re-enters the atmosphere, descends and lands horizontally on a runway.
Mr. Randy Walden, Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office director, accompanied Donovan during his visits.
“The Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office team is proud of the work we are accomplishing on both the B-21 Raider and X-37B,” Walden said. “The visit has been a great opportunity to showcase the capabilities we will provide to the warfighter.”
Both the B-21 and the X-37B are associated with the AFRCO. AFRCO is a unique program office established to push the bounds of performance for capability delivery. Donovan currently sits on the AFRCO Board of Directors which tasks, approves and oversees program office efforts.
Additionally, Donovan visited L3 Harris Technologies to receive updates on how the company has partnered with the Air Force to advance space, avionics and communications capabilities.