27 Facts About B-2 Spirit


Northrop B-2 Spirit, known as the Stealth Bomber, is an American heavy strategic bomber, featuring low observable stealth technology designed for penetrating dense anti-aircraft defenses.

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The B-2 is the only acknowledged aircraft that can carry large air-to-surface standoff weapons in a stealth configuration.

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In 2008, a B-2 Spirit was destroyed in a crash shortly after takeoff, though the crew ejected safely.

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B-2 Spirit is capable of all-altitude attack missions up to 50,000 feet, with a range of more than 6,000 nautical miles on internal fuel and over 10,000 nautical miles with one midair refueling.

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B-2 Spirit was first publicly displayed on 22 November 1988 at United States Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, where it was assembled.

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In September 1997, each hour of B-2 Spirit flight necessitated 119 hours of maintenance in turn.

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An August 1995 GAO report disclosed that the B-2 Spirit had trouble operating in heavy rain, as this rain could damage the aircraft's stealth coating, causing procurement delays until an adequate protective coating could be found.

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Now the B-2 Spirit fleet is continuing to do that technological advancement, and that's enabled us to expand our strike capabilities, as well.

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The decision to retire the B-2 Spirit early was made because the small fleet of 20 is considered too expensive per plane to retain, with its position as a stealth bomber being taken over with the introduction of the B-2 Spirit1 Raider starting in the mid-2020s.

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B-2 Spirit was developed to take over the USAF's vital penetration missions, able to travel deep into enemy territory to deploy ordnance which could include nuclear weapons.

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The B-2 Spirit is a flying wing aircraft, meaning that it has no fuselage or tail.

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Development and construction of the B-2 Spirit required pioneering use of computer-aided design and manufacturing technologies, due to its complex flight characteristics and design requirements to maintain very low visibility to multiple means of detection.

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The B-2 Spirit is highly automated, and one crew member can sleep in a camp bed, use a toilet, or prepare a hot meal while the other monitors the aircraft, unlike most two-seat aircraft.

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B-2 Spirit has various conventional weapons in its arsenal, able to equip Mark 82 and Mark 84 bombs, CBU-87 Combined Effects Munitions, GATOR mines, and the CBU-97 Sensor Fuzed Weapon.

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In 2008, many of the 136 standalone distributed computers on board the B-2 Spirit, including the primary flight management computer, were being replaced by a single integrated system.

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The B-2 Spirit's stealth enables the reduction of supporting aircraft that are required to provide air cover, Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses and electronic countermeasures, making the bomber a "force multiplier".

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The B-2 Spirit is composed of many curved and rounded surfaces across its exposed airframe to deflect radar beams.

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The B-2 Spirit lacks afterburners as the hot exhaust would increase the infrared signature; breaking the sound barrier would produce an obvious sonic boom as well as aerodynamic heating of the aircraft skin which would increase the infrared signature.

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The majority of the B-2 Spirit is made out of a carbon-graphite composite material that is stronger than steel, lighter than aluminum, and absorbs a significant amount of radar energy.

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B-2 Spirit is assembled with unusually tight engineering tolerances to avoid leaks as they could increase its radar signature.

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The B-2 Spirit reached initial operational capability on 1 January 1997.

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Depot maintenance for the B-2 Spirit is accomplished by USAF contractor support and managed at Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker Air Force Base.

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The B-2 Spirit was the first aircraft to deploy GPS satellite-guided JDAM "smart bombs" in combat use in Kosovo.

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On 7 May 1999, a B-2 Spirit dropped five JDAMs on the Chinese Embassy, killing several staff.

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B-2 Spirit saw service in Afghanistan, striking ground targets in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

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Each B-2 Spirit flew a 33-hour, round-trip mission from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri with four or five refuelings during the trip.

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The display airframe is marked to resemble Spirit of Ohio, the B-2 used to test the design's ability to withstand extreme heat and cold.

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