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WASHINGTON — Strange reports of up to 10 B-2 stealth bombers flying above Minneapolis started circulating on social media Thursday evening. Tail spotters posted numerous photos on Facebook, not only of B-2s but of KC-10 tankers in the area. Meanwhile, aviation geeks on Twitter began debating what could have prompted perhaps half the inventory of the U.S. Air Force’s most advanced bomber to begin coalescing around a major U.S. city.
It's official, according to NOTAMs the exercise is indeed Neptune Falcon or a variation of that exercise. The B-2s, going by callsign 'Reaper,' are still up along with the tankers. An elongated rectangle block of airspace over the northern U.S., running roughly from Great Falls, Montana to just past Minot AFB in North Dakota, has been set aside. Another block of airspace reserved for the exercise sits northwest of the Nevada Test and Training Range. All told, this is likely the simulation of a long-range nuclear strike or global air power mission without leaving the United States.