Saturday, March 28, 2015

Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit

"B-2" and "Stealth bomber" redirect here. For other uses, see B2 (disambiguation) and Stealth aircraft.
B-2 Spirit
B-2 Spirit original.jpg
A U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit flying over the Pacific Ocean in May 2006.
Role    Strategic stealthbomber
National origin    United States
Manufacturer    Northrop Corporation
Northrop Grumman
First flight    17 July 1989
Introduction    April 1997
Status    In service
Primary user    United States Air Force
Produced    1987–2000
Number built    21[1][2]
Program cost    US$44.75 billion (through 2004)
Unit cost  
$737 million (1997 approx. flyaway cost)
The Northrop (later Northrop Grumman) B-2 Spirit, also known as the Stealth Bomber, is an American heavy strategic bomber, featuring low observable stealth technology designed for penetrating dense anti-aircraft defenses; it is able to deploy both conventional and thermonuclear weapons. The bomber has a crew of two and can drop up to 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 known aircraft that can carry large air-to-surface standoff weapons in a stealth configuration.

"B-2" and "Stealth bomber" redirect here. For other uses, see B2 (disambiguation) and Stealth aircraft
Development originally started under the "Advanced Technology Bomber" (ATB) project during the Carter administration, and its performance was one of his reasons for the cancellation of the supersonic B-1A bomber. ATB continued during the Reagan administration, but worries about delays in its introduction led to the reinstatement of the B-1 program as well. Program costs rose throughout development. Designed and manufactured by Northrop Grumman, the cost of each aircraft averaged US$737 million (in 1997 dollars).Total procurement costs averaged $929 million per aircraft, which includes spare parts, equipment, retrofitting, and software support.The total program cost including development, engineering and testing, averaged $2.1 billion per aircraft in 1997.

Because of its considerable capital and operating costs, the project was controversial in the U.S. Congress and among the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The winding-down of the Cold War in the latter portion of the 1980s dramatically reduced the need for the aircraft, which was designed with the intention of penetrating Soviet airspace and attacking high-value targets. During the late 1980s and 1990s, Congress slashed plans to purchase 132 bombers to 21. In 2008, a B-2 was destroyed in a crash shortly after takeoff, though the crew ejected safely. A total of 20 B-2s remain in service with the United States Air Force, which plans to operate the B-2 until 2058.

"B-2" and "Stealth bomber" redirect here. For other uses, see B2 (disambiguation) and Stealth aircraft.
The B-2 is capable of all-altitude attack missions up to 50,000 feet (15,000 m), with a range of more than 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km) on internal fuel and over 10,000 nautical miles (19,000 km) with one midair refueling. Though originally designed primarily as a nuclear bomber, it was first used in combat dropping conventional ordnance in the Kosovo War in 1999 and saw further service in Iraq and Afghanistan.