The nation has deployed their best and brightest in the field of aviation engineering to create 100 B-21 stealth bombers inspired by cloaking devices seen in Gene Roddenberry’s hit TV and film franchise Star Trek.

It is hoped the radar-dodging jets will be able to match Russian prowess in “shadow” flight.

Russian jets are capable of vanishing from radar without a trace – while their own systems can detect targets from up to 340 miles away.

The $80billion US contract has been picked up by Northrop Grumman, which is developing the classified aircraft at the heavily guarded Plant 42 facility in the Californian desert.

Colonel Mace Carpenter, who flew the first US stealth jet – the F-117 Nighthawk – said it would be amazing to create cloaking device capable of making a B-21 “disappear”.

But in reality experts are more likely to produce a system that makes jets harder to detect, he added.

He said: “Stealth is not about making an aircraft completely unseen but harder to see.”

Colonel Carpenter went on to support the development of equally stealthy refuelling tankers, “if there’s money for it”.

He added: “The B-21 will have the range to operate independently but if it’s required to fly deep into enemy territory then an accompanying stealth tanker would be useful.” 

The latest show of force against Russia comes as Nato announced troops will remain present in the Baltic states and Eastern Europe.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance will remain in the area “as long as necessary” to protect its allies.

Tensions in the area have run high ever since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 causing the international military alliance to increase its military presence in the region.

Mr Stoltenberg said: “We are stepping up, we are increasing the readiness of our forces.

We are deploying for the first time in our history forces in the eastern part of the alliance…

“We are also strengthening our ability to move forces across Europe, but also across the North Atlantic.”


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