posted on Jun, 21 2004 @ 01:16 PM
B-2 STEALTH BOMBER
The U.S. Air
Force/Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bomber is a strategic,
long-range heavy bomber. Its low-observable stealth technology and
all-altitude operational envelope give it the capability to penetrate
the most sophisticated air defenses.
developed under a blanket of secrecy, the high-tech B-2 Stealth
bomber was unveiled at the Northrop company's manufacturing plant
in Palmdale, California, on 22 November 1988. An audience of invited
guests and journalists was kept well away from the plane which was
designed to slip through enemy radar defences without being detected
and then drop up to 16 nuclear bombs on key targets.
flight was July 17, 1989. The B-2 Combined Test Force located at
Air Force Flight Test Center, part of Edwards Air Force Base, California,
is responsible for the engineering, manufacturing and flight testing
of the development aircraft as they are produced.
contractor, responsible for overall system design and integration,
is Northrop Grumman's Military Aircraft Systems Division. Boeing
Military Airplanes Co., Hughes Radar Systems Group and General Electric
Aircraft Engine Group are key members of the aircraft contractor
team. Another major contractor, responsible for aircrew training
devices (weapon system trainer and mission trainer) is Hughes Training
Inc. (HTI) - Link Division, formerly known as CAE - Link Flight
Simulation Corp. Northrop Grumman and its major subcontractor HTI,
are responsible for developing and integrating all aircrew and maintenance
To help achieve
radar invisibility, the bomber is coated with radar-absorbent paint
on its leading edge. A similar technology is used underwater to
foil sonar detection. Modern submarines are coated in a thick layer
of a top-secret resin which is highly absorbent acoustically, and
reflects only a minute amount of the energy transmitted by sonar
low-observability means that it does not need an armada of support
aircraft to accomplish a mission, and its large payload allows it
to do the work of many smaller attack aircraft. The revolutionary
blending of low-observable technologies with high aerodynamic efficiency
and large payload gives the B-2 important advantages over existing
bombers. Its low-observability provides it greater freedom of action
at high altitudes, thus increasing its range and a better field
of view for the aircraft's sensors. The Air Force has published
a representative mission scenario showing that two B-2's armed with
precision weapons can do the job of a package of 75 conventional
aircraft. Only four crew members are put at risk in this mission,
compared to 132 in the conventional aircraft package.
low-observability is derived from a combination of reduced infra-red,
acoustic, electromagnetic, visual and radar signatures. These signatures
make it difficult for sophisticated defensive systems to detect,
track and engage the B-2. Many aspects of the low-observability
process remain classified; however, the B-2's composite materials,
special coatings and flying-wing design all contribute to its "stealthiness."
The B-2 can
fly more than 6,000 nautical miles unrefueled and more than 10,000
nautical miles with just one refueling, giving it the ability to
fly to any point on the globe within hours.
Missouri, is the B-2's only operational base. The first aircraft,
Spirit of Missouri, was delivered on 17 December 1993. Depot maintenance
responsibility for the B-2 is performed by Air Force contractor
support and is managed at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center
at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma.
that with its low observable characteristics, the B-2 is the most
survivable aircraft in the world. Northrop Grumman Corporation,
the prime contractor, produces the B-2 at facilities in Pico Rivera
and Palmdale, California.
long-range heavy bomber
No. of Engines:
Electric F-118-GE-100 engines
has also been noted that the B-2 contains experimental propulsion
technology possibly being Electro-gravitic systems.
pounds each engine
(10000 with one refuelling)
information was used with permission from the Department Of The