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Looking ahead at Dyess after Air Force announcement

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) - After months of speculation, it looks as though the US Air Force has finally answered the question of Dyess AFB getting the new B-21 Raider stealth bomber. In a statement on Monday, they said that "Bases that have bombers now will have bombers in the future." Although these plans still call for congressional approval, it seems likely that Dyess will be one of the new homes for the B-21.

The Raider is a state-of-the-art stealth bomber that is slated to replace the B-1 in use at Dyess and the B-2 bomber that is also in service elsewhere. Col. Michael Bob Starr (ret.) explains that the new aircraft is an evolution of both older units. "What the B-21 really does, is it allows the United States to hold any target at risk, no matter what the defenses are around that target."

That makes the B-21 a powerful tool to be a part of the USAF arsenal, in a change that bodes well for Dyess and for Abilene. Rep. Jodey Arrington says that it is "incaculable, in terms of Dyess' impact on the local and regional economy."

Gray Bridwell with Abilene's Military Affairs Commission says that the change means something of an insurance policy, "With the B-21 being based at Dyess AFB, our love for the airmen will continue for many years to come."

That love from the community plays a big part in the success of Dyess moving forward, according to Rep. Arrington. "Let's be clear: The community of Abilene is the biggest reason that we're able to be successful in basing the B-21."

After approval, the next step is to get the base ready for the changes. "Any time there is a new airplane that is being introduced to a base, there is always construction that has to prepare the base for those new requirements." explains Michael Bob Starr.

It may be years away, but it looks as though the future is bright at Dyess.

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