Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit

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B-2 Spirit
A U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit over the Pacific Ocean in May 2006.
Role Strategic stealth bomber
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 1988-2000
Number built 21[1][2]
Program cost US$44.75 billion (through 2004)[3]
Unit cost
$737 million (1997 approx. flyaway cost)[3]

The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit, also called the Stealth Bomber, is an American strategic bomber. It has a lot of stealth technology, and it is designed to get through many anti-aircraft defenses. It can drop both conventional and nuclear weapons. Two people fly the bomber, and it can drop up to 80 500 lb (230 kg)-class JDAM GPS-guided bombs, or sixteen 2,400 lb (1,100 kg) B83 nuclear bombs.

The bomber began being designed as the "Advanced Technology Bomber" (ATB) during the Carter administration. The designing of the ATB continued during the Reagan administration. The bomber was designed and is made by Northrop Grumman, with help from Boeing. Each aircraft cost US$737 million (in 1997 dollars).[3]

Because the bomber is very expensive, the project was controversial in the U.S. Congress. The end of the Cold War meant that the bomber was not really needed anymore. Congress wanted to buy 132 bombers, but during the late 1980s and 1990s, Congress reduced this to 21. In 2008, a B-2 was destroyed in a crash shortly after takeoff. The crew got out safely.[4] 20 B-2s are being used by the United States Air Force.

Although the B-2 was supposed to be a mainly nuclear bomber, it was first used in combat to drop normal bombs on Serbia during the Kosovo War in 1999. It was used during the Iraq War and it was used in the war in Afghanistan.[5]

In 2023, it landed for the first time on the European mainland; The plane is expected to leave Norway after training with air forces in Europe.[6]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Northrop B-2A Spirit fact sheet." National Museum of the United States Air Force. Retrieved: 13 September 2009.
  2. Mehuron, Tamar A., Assoc. Editor. "2009 USAF Almanac, Fact and Figures." Air Force Magazine, May 2009. Retrieved: 13 September 2009.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "B-2 Bomber: Cost and Operational Issues Letter Report, 14 August 1997, GAO/NSIAD-97-181." Archived 21 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine United States General Accounting Office (GAO). Retrieved: 13 September 2009.
  4. Rolfsen, Bruce. "Moisture confused sensors in B-2 crash." Air Force Times, 9 June 2008. Retrieved: 13 September 2009.
  5. "B-2 Spirit Fact Sheet." U.S. Air Force, April 2008. Retrieved: 6 July 2008.
  6. Retrieved 2023-08-30

Other websites[change | change source]