The Northrop B-2A “Spirit” flying-wing (Stealth Bomber) is designed to penetrate enemy air defenses and to attack strategic targets, with nuclear bombs and stand-off weapons.
- Nation origin: United States of America
- Manufacturer: Northrop Grumman
- Task: Stealth Bomber
- First Flight: 17 July 1987, 82-1066
- Introduction: April 1989
- Number built: 21
- Primary user: United States Air Force
- Status: Operational
The first flight of the number one of twenty one Northrop B-2A (82-1066), known as AV-1 or Air Vehicle One, took place at Palmdale, CA on July 17,1989.
The B-2A is powered by four General Electric F-118-GE-110 non-afterburning turbofan engines mounted in pairs inside the wing adjacent to the crew/pay- Load area with both inlets and exhausts atop the aircraft to help to shield them from infra-red detection from below.
The crew compartment provides side-by-side seating for two crew members, both of them will be pilots (not navigator or radar navigator/bombardier).
The B-2As may not be as stealthy as the USAF assert. The B-2A is difficult to detect at least, in time for an effective defense by the high-frequency radars used in fire-control systems today.
The new version of the B-2A, known as the B-2C (C for conventional) will be based closely on the current B-2A Block 30, thought it would have a new and much less costly radar and old-technology computers would be replaced by commercial, off-the-shelf processors. One plan that has been mooted would involve the production of 40 more B-2Cs over a 10 years period for a total cost of $28 billion.
Northrop B-2A Spirit in action:
Allied Force: March 24 – June 10, 1999
From their home base in the United States , Whiteman AFB, MO, two B-2As flew a 31 hours mission to Kosovo in the first night of the air-strikes against the Serbs.
October 7, 2001 – ……… Afghanistan. Enduring Freedom.
Air-to-ground strikes against Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, from home base Whiteman AFB, MO. On their flight they get refueled in midair by tankers. After their drops they set course to Diego Garcia (on that point the mission took 40 hours.) On Diego Garcia the a crew-change takes place for the flight back to Whiteman AFB (another 30 hours.) 6 B-2’s were used the first 3 days of the air strikes.
- Crew: 2
- Length: 21.0 m (69 ft)
- Wingspan: 52.4 (172 ft)
- Height: 5.18 m (17 ft)
- Wing area: 478 sq m (5,140 sq ft)
- Empty weight: 71.700 kg (158,000 lb)
- Loaded weight: 152.200 kg (336,500 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 170.600 kg (376,000 lb)
- Powerplant: 4× General Electric F118-GE-100 non-afterburning turbofans, 17,300 lbf (77 kN) each
- Maximum speed: 972 km/h (Mach 0.95 ,525 knots, 604 mph)
- Cruise speed: 870 km/h (Mach 0.8 470 knots, 541 mph)
- Range: 11,100 km (6,000 nmi, 6,900 mi))
- Service ceiling: 15,200 m (50,000 ft)
- Wing loading: 329 kg/sq m (67.3 lb/sq ft)
- Thrust/weight: 0.205
- 2 internal bays for 23,000 kg (50,000 lb) of ordnance.
- 80× 500 lb class bombs (Mk-82) mounted on Bomb Rack Assembly (BRA)
- 36× 750 lb CBU class bombs on BRA
- 16× 2000 lb class weapons (Mk-84, JDAM-84, JDAM-102) mounted on Rotary Launcher Assembly (RLA)
- 16× B61 or B83 nuclear weapons on RLA
Later avionics and equipment improvements allow B-2A to carry JSOW, GBU-28, and GBU-57A/Bs as well. The Spirit is also designated as a delivery aircraft for the AGM-158 JASSM when the missile enters service.
The USAF is the only user of the Northrop Grumman B-2A Spirit.
20 B-2As by the 509th BW , 393rd BS, 715th BS at Whiteman AFB, MO One Northrop B-2A stealth bomber crashed early Saturday (February 23, 2008) morning local time in Guam, according to the Air Force. Two pilots who were aboard during the crash, at Andersen Air Force Base, ejected from the bomber and were in good condition afterward, according to an Air Force statement.