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Immediate Release

Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen H. Hicks Visits Palmdale, Calif.

April 7, 2022

Department of Defense Spokesman Eric Pahon provided the following readout:

Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen H. Hicks visited Palmdale, California, today to observe the B-21 Raider production line.

During her tour, Northrop Grumman facility managers briefed the deputy secretary on the B-21’s innovative design and development approaches, which incorporate open-source architecture and digital engineering tools, and leverage the commercial innovative ecosystem to deliver cutting-edge capabilities.

The deputy secretary saw the B-21 initial flight test aircraft in the loads-calibration fixture, beginning its verification and validation process. 

Dr. Hicks offered her appreciation to the highly-skilled manufacturing technicians, engineers and program managers across the defense industrial base who are focused on driving innovation to advance the B-21 project. 

Deputy Secretary Hicks reinforced the need for B-21 production to remain on track to deliver to operational bases in the mid-2020s.

She also visited Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, where she was briefed on their work to in areas like hypersonics; and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); using open-mission systems for the joint all-domain battlespace.  

Lockheed Martin representatives also discussed the company’s recent successful hypersonics test on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) / Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) missile demonstrator, which flew more than 300 nautical miles at altitudes greater than 65,000 feet.