Designed during the Cold War as the world’s first low-observable or “stealth” strategic bomber, the B-2 Spirit harkens back khổng lồ the designs of revalutionary engineer Jack Northrop. His “flying wing” thiết kế first debuted in 1949 as the YB-49 but was not adopted by the Air Force at the time. The B-2 Spirit is a multi-role bomber capable of delivering both conventional và nuclear munitions. The bomber represents a major milestone in the U.S. Bomber modernization program & brings massive firepower to bear anywhere on the globe through previously impenetrable defenses.

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The B-2 provides the penetrating flexibility & effectiveness inherent in manned bombers. Its low-observable characteristics give it the quality ability khổng lồ penetrate an enemy"s most sophisticated defenses và threaten its most valued, and heavily defended, targets. Its capability khổng lồ penetrate air defenses & threaten effective retaliation provides a strong, effective deterrent và combat force well into the 21st century.

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The revolutionary blending of low-observable technologies with high aerodynamic efficiency & large payload gives the B-2 important advantages over existing bombers. Its low-observability provides it greater freedom of kích hoạt at high altitudes, thus increasing its range & a better field of view for the aircraft"s sensors. Its unrefueled range is approximately 6,000 nautical miles (9,600 kilometers).

The B-2"s low observability is derived from a combination of reduced infrared, acoustic, electromagnetic, visual and radar signatures. These signatures make it difficult for the sophisticated defensive systems lớn 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 và flying-wing design all contribute lớn its "stealthiness."

The B-2 has a crew of two pilots, a pilot in the left seat and mission commander in the right, compared to lớn the B-1B"s crew of four & the B-52"s crew of five.

The first B-2 was publicly displayed on Nov. 22, 1988, when it was rolled out of its hangar at Air Force Plant 42, Palmdale, Calif. Its first flight was July 17, 1989. The B-2 Combined thử nghiệm Force, Air Force Flight thử nghiệm Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., is responsible for flight testing the engineering, manufacturing & development aircraft on the B-2.

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Whiteman AFB, Mo., is the only operational base for the B-2. The first aircraft, Spirit of Missouri, was delivered Dec. 17, 1993. Depot maintenance responsibility for the B-2 is performed by Air Force contractor support and is managed at the Oklahoma đô thị Air Logistics Center at Tinker AFB, Okla.

The combat effectiveness of the B-2 was proved in Operation Allied Force, where it was responsible for destroying 33 percent of all Serbian targets in the first eight weeks, by flying nonstop lớn Kosovo from its trang chủ base in Missouri & back. Allegedly it was a B-2 Spirit which dropped the bombs that destroyed the Chinese embassy in Sarajevo.

In tư vấn of Operation Enduring Freedom, the B-2 flew one of its longest missions khổng lồ date from Whiteman khổng lồ Afghanistan and back. The B-2 completed its first-ever combat deployment in tư vấn of Operation Iraqi Freedom, flying 22 sorties from a forward operating location as well as 27 sorties from Whiteman AFB và releasing more than 1.5 million pounds of munitions.

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The aircraft received full operational capability status in December 2003. On Feb. 1, 2009, the Air Force"s newest command, Air Force Global Strike Command, assumed responsibility for the B-2 from Air Combat Command.