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Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit

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A B-2 Spirit of the 509th Bomb Wing soars after a refueling mission over the Pacific Ocean on May 30th, 2006.
The Northrop (later Northrop Grumman) 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.

The B-2 is capable of all-altitude attack missions up to 50,000 feet (15,240 meters), with a range of more than 6,000 nautical miles (11,112 kilometers) on internal fuel and over 10,000 nautical miles (18,520 kilometers) with one midair refueling. It entered service in 1997 as the second aircraft designed to have advanced stealth technology after the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk attack aircraft. Though designed originally as primarily a nuclear bomber, the B-2 was first used in combat, dropping conventional, non-nuclear ordnance in the Kosovo War in 1999. It later served in Afghanistan, India and Korea.

A total of forty-eight aircraft have been built for the USAF.

Users[edit]

  • United States
    • United States Air Force

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