The US Air Force unveiled its ambitious new B-21 Raider stealth bomber in the midst of the Ukraine conflict and the growing competition between the United States and China on the international stage.

Iran PressAmerica: The stealthy jet was revealed at the invite-only, tightly controlled event at Northrop Grumman's facility in Palmdale, California on Friday, but the aircraft isn't expected to make its first flight until 2023.

The bomber has been claimed as "the most advanced military aircraft ever built" by the US.

According to statements by an Air Force spokesperson, the bomber will be capable of deploying both nuclear and conventional weapons.

Much remains unknown about the B-21's capabilities. Nonetheless, there have been some details released to the public ahead of its unveiling.

According to a Northrop Grumman fact sheet released on Nov. 29, the B-21 will feature "advanced networking capabilities," which likely means that the stealth bomber will be able to coordinate and communicate with other assets including satellites, ground stations and other aircraft that might even include uncrewed long-distance "wingman drones" designed specifically for the B-21.

Much of the B-21's sophistication comes in the form of the software used both in the aircraft itself and in its manufacturing process. Its maker describes it as a "digital bomber" in that much of its design and manufacturing was performed using a software-based "digital twin" to help reduce production costs. 

Northrop Grumman currently has six B-21s in various stages of assembly and testing at its Palmdale plant. The Air Force has estimated that each nuclear-capable B-21 Raider will cost roughly $692 million to procure.