The US Air Force is the newest military branch to let the Internet name its shiny new equipment. Since Britain’s possible christening of the RRS Boaty McBoatface obviously wasn’t enough of a warning, the Air Force is crowdsourcing the name of the United States’ newest stealth bomber to join the fleet. The B-21 bomber is being billed as the plane of America’s future, so at least the Air Force was wise enough to limit naming submissions to a select group of citizens.
The B-21 is “a bomber for the 21st century”, according to the US Air Force website. “It’s no longer enough for our bombers to fly further, drop more munitions or remain unseen. Our Airmen must answer new dangers with ingenuity and innovation.” So apparently, crowdsourcing the bomber’s name brings the Air Force to the cutting edge of innovation. Hopefully, “the Internet” will come up with a more convincing name than RRS Boaty McBoatface, which might soon be the official title of the British government research vessel named by the masses.
Only active duty service members in the Air Force, Reserves and National Guard members, retirees, and their families will be eligible to submit names for the new bomber. There is also a list of pretty strict rules limiting submissions, but there’s a fair amount of worry that someone will be crafty enough to come up with something heinous. As the guidelines state: “The entry must not contain material that is inappropriate, indecent, obscene, hateful, tortuous, defamatory, slanderous or libelous. The entry must not contain material that promotes bigotry, racism, hatred or harm against any group or individual or promotes discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age.” And of course, nothing illegal.
All jokes aside, the noble mission of crowdsourcing the new bomber’s name has a lot to do with honoring active Airmen. “It’s important to allow our Airmen the opportunity to contribute to the identity of this new aircraft,” the Air Force said in a statement. “This event marks a significant milestone in bomber development, and will allow them to give the B-21 a name.”
That said, interested parties who are not associated with the US Air Force are encouraged to leave their suggestions in the comments section of the Air Force’s social media pages.