The Northrop B-2 Spirit, also known as the Stealth Bomber, is an American heavy penetration strategic bomber, featuring low observable stealth technology designed for penetrating dense anti-aircraft defenses; it is a flying wing design with a crew of two.
The bomber can deploy both conventional and thermonuclear weapons, such as eighty 500 lb (230 kg)-class (Mk 82) JDAM Global Positioning System-guided bombs, or sixteen 2,400 lb (1,100 kg) B83 nuclear bombs. The B-2 is the only acknowledged aircraft that can carry large air-to-surface standoff weapons in a stealth configuration.
In the below video see How Stealth Bombers Work
Here’s why the B-2 Bomber Still One of the Most Feared Aircraft in the Sky
This week marks the 20th anniversary of the deployment to Guam of one of America’s most important and expensive weapon systems – the B-2 Spirit.
The B-2 was originally intended to carry nuclear bombs deep into Soviet territory if the Cold War had ever turned hot. Its shape – paired with the plane’s stealth systems – would enable it to be undetected by Soviet radars. The B-2’s long range meant it could fly deep into enemy territory and return home.
The B-2 Spirit was developed to take over the USAF’s vital penetration missions, able to travel deep into enemy territory to deploy their ordnance which could include nuclear weapons. The B-2 is a flying wing aircraft, meaning that it has no fuselage or tail.
It has significant advantages over previous bombers due to its blend of low-observable technologies with high aerodynamic efficiency and large payload. Low observability provides a greater freedom of action at high altitudes, thus increasing both range and field of view for onboard sensors. The U.S. Air Force reports its range as approximately 6,000 nautical miles (6,900 mi; 11,000 km). At cruising altitude, the B-2 refuels every six hours, taking on up to 50 short tons (45,000 kg) of fuel at a time.
Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit Bomber Still One of the Most Feared Aircraft in the Sky
The development and construction of the B-2 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.
The B-2 bears a resemblance to earlier Northrop aircraft; the YB-35 and YB-49 were both flying wing bombers that had been canceled in development in the early 1950s, allegedly for political reasons.The resemblance goes as far as B-2 and YB-49 having the same wingspan.
Approximately 80 pilots fly the B-2. Each aircraft has a crew of two, a pilot in the left seat and mission commander in the right, and has provisions for a third crew member if needed. For comparison, the B-1B has a crew of four and the B-52 has a crew of five.
The B-2 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. Extensive sleep cycle and fatigue research was conducted to improve crew performance on long sorties