When you consider that the B-52 was originally designed in 1946 and first flown in 1952, and is still in service with the US Air Force, I'd say that it is the best strategic bomber we have ever had. "Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit". $29.88 $ 29. [101] Four pairs of control surfaces are located along the wing's trailing edge; while most surfaces are used throughout the aircraft's flight envelope, the inner elevons are normally only in use at slow speeds, such as landing. Sweetman, Bill. Comments. [97] Due to the B-2's composite structure, it is required to stay 40 miles (64 km) away from thunderstorms, to avoid static discharge and lightning strikes. [7] B-2s would be stationed in the Middle East as a part of a US military buildup in the region from 2003. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. The bomber's design was changed in the mid-1980s when the mission profile was changed from high-altitude to low-altitude, terrain-following. [96], In addition to periodic software upgrades and the introduction of new radar-absorbent materials across the fleet, the B-2 has had several major upgrades to its avionics and combat systems. With aerial refueling support, the B-2 flew one of its longest missions to date from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri to Afghanistan and back. Development started under the "Advanced Technology Bomber" (ATB) project during the Carter administration; its expected performance was one of the President's reasons for the cancellation of the Mach 2 capable B-1A bomber. In 1996, the General Accounting Office (GAO) disclosed that the USAF's B-2 bombers "will be, by far, the most costly bombers to operate on a per aircraft basis", costing over three times as much as the B-1B (US$9.6 million annually) and over four times as much as the B-52H (US$6.8 million annually). making it cheaper to maintain and repair than b-2 but still more costly than b-52 [39][40], In its consideration of the fiscal year 1990 defense budget, the House Armed Services Committee trimmed $800 million from the B-2 research and development budget, while at the same time staving off a motion to end the project. [65] The B-2 is a flying wing aircraft, meaning that it has no fuselage or tail. [7][131], During the Iraq War, B-2s operated from Diego Garcia and an undisclosed "forward operating location". [24], For the manufacturing, a former Ford automobile assembly plant in Pico Rivera, California, was acquired and heavily rebuilt; the plant's employees were sworn to complete secrecy regarding their work. Burying engines deep inside the fuselage also minimizes the thermal visibility or infrared signature of the exhaust. ", "Program office brings home 'wounded warrior'. A dramatic leap forward in technology, the bomber represents a major milestone in the U.S. bomber modernization program. A dramatic leap forward in technology, the bomber represents a major milestone in the U.S. bomber modernization program. Scott H. Spitzer), Pit stop⛽️ [102], The B-2's low-observable, or "stealth", characteristics enable the undetected penetration of sophisticated anti-aircraft defenses and to attack even heavily defended targets. [130], The B-2's combat use preceded a U.S. Air Force declaration of "full operational capability" in December 2003. [67] "Forward operating locations" have been previously designated as Andersen Air Force Base in Guam and RAF Fairford in the United Kingdom, where new climate controlled hangars have been constructed. In the Resonance or Mie Region at medium frequencies, target dimensions and the radar wavelength are i… Discover (and save!) [7][66] 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. A key reason for this cost is the provision of air-conditioned hangars large enough for the bomber's 172 ft (52 m) wingspan, which are needed to maintain the aircraft's stealth properties, particularly its "low-observable" stealth skins. [60] In 2012 projections, it was estimated that the Next-Generation Bomber would have an overall cost of $55 billion. [121] B2SS hangars are known to have been deployed to Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia and RAF Fairford. [16] The Northrop proposal was code named "Senior Ice" and the Lockheed proposal code named "Senior Peg". [85] The onboard DMS is capable of automatically assessing the detection capabilities of identified threats and indicated targets. Although the bombers accounted 50 sorties out of a total of 34,000 NATO sorties, they dropped 11 percent of all bombs. [121][122], The first operational aircraft, christened Spirit of Missouri, was delivered to Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, where the fleet is based, on 17 December 1993. [78], The B-2, in the envisaged Cold War scenario, was to perform deep-penetrating nuclear strike missions, making use of its stealthy capabilities to avoid detection and interception throughout missions. [78], To address the inherent flight instability of a flying wing aircraft, the B-2 uses a complex quadruplex computer-controlled fly-by-wire flight control system that can automatically manipulate flight surfaces and settings without direct pilot inputs in order to maintain aircraft stability. [57] However, in March 2012, the Pentagon announced that a $2 billion, 10-year-long modernization of the B-2 fleet was to begin. [85] The arrays of the upgraded radar features were entirely replaced to make the AN/APQ-181 into an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. This technique, known as continuous curvature, was made possible by advances in computational fluid dynamics, and first tested on the Northrop Tacit Blue. [47], Some B-2 advocates argued that procuring twenty additional aircraft would save money because B-2s would be able to deeply penetrate anti-aircraft defenses and use low-cost, short-range attack weapons rather than expensive standoff weapons. [61], In 2013, the USAF contracted for the Defensive Management System Modernization program to replace the antenna system and other electronics to increase the B-2's frequency awareness. This stealth comes from a combination of reduced acoustic, infrared, visual and radar signatures (multi-spectral camouflage) to evade the various detection systems that could be used to detect and be used to direct attacks against an aircraft. Although other detection measures existed, such as human observation, infrared scanners, acoustic locators, their relatively short detection range or poorly-developed technology allowed most aircraft to fly undetected, or at least untracked, especially at night. As a result, the flight control computers calculated an inaccurate airspeed, and a negative angle of attack, causing the aircraft to pitch upward 30 degrees during takeoff. Crickmore, Paul and Alison J. Crickmore, "Nighthawk F-117 Stealth Fighter".

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