Development aircraft allocations

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Message posted by StuBert (Member since 05/23/2020) on September 30, 2022 at 8:44:20 PST:

Hello all.

With the highly anticipated B-21 reveal due to happen by the end of this year it got me thinking about designations given to development aircraft programs. Several aircraft in the current USAF inventory had YB-, YC-, YF-, XB- & X- designations throughout their tender and development phases but I can't see evidence of these for airframes like the B1 & B2.

Is this the case when the development airframes are later assigned to the production run and placed into service? Or will any development aircrafts (in the case of the B-21) existence not be acknowledged until many years after it has entered service?




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