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B-2 Spirit

The B-2 spirit is a stealth bomber, developed by the American company Grumman Aircraft for the United States Air Force. The main characteristic is the flying wing design.
The B-2 has a very high invincibility for enemy radar thanks to the stealth design, radar absorbent material (RAM) and the hidden engine air inlets and engine exhaust gasses. The B-2 can drop guided and unguided bombs at a height of more than 10Km with a precision in meters.
These bombs can be lead to their target by special forces on the ground. The B-2 was first used operational during Operation Allied Force. The US Air Force has 21 B-2 Spirit bombers which are stationed on Whiteman Air Force Base with the first delivered in December 1993.

The B-2 operates mostly from Air Bases in the United States and will be aerial refueled during missions. There are also a few B-2 on Forward Air bases but when they have flown a mission they fly back to the US for maintenance on the stealth. The bomber flies always at a altitude approximately 10Km (33.000 ft) for the safety of the aircraft and the crew. The crew contains of a pilot and a mission commander.


Design organisation Northrop Grumman Aircraft
Main secundary design organisations GE
Production organisaton Northrop Grumman Aircraft
Primary task Precision and non-precision bombing
Type aircraft Stealth bomber
Specials Flying wing concept, superior stealth technologies in period when introduced
Length 20.9 meters
Height 5.1 meters
Wingspan 52.12 meters
Wing surface  
Aspect ratio  
Sweep back  
Engines 4 x General Electric F118-GE-100 Turbofan engines
Thrust 17.300 pound each engine
Weight (empty)  
Weight (start, maximum, MTOW) 152634 kgs
Weight (landing, maximum, MLW)  
Required runway length (start)  
Required runway length (landing)  
Cruise speed  
Maximum speed high subsonic
Ceiling 15240 meters
Maximum range 9600 km or 18520 nm with 1 time refuel and a payload of bombs of 18.144kgs
Fuel capacity 75750 kgs
Air-to-air-refueling capability Yes
Passengers none
Payload none
Armament conventional or nuclear bombs
Maximum weapon load 18144 kgs
Maximum G resistance  
Type flight controls  
Landing gear  
Manufactured 21
Crew 2: 1 pilot and 1 mission commander
Costs 1.157 billion dollar (FY 98)
Overall flight hours  
First flight 17 July 1989
First delivery 17 December 1993
Operational since April 1997
Successor of  
Replaced by n.a.
Comparable aircraft  
Operators (current and future) Only United States
Main operators United States Air Force
Operational usage Operation Allied Force (Kosovo), Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq), Libia 2011.
Crash 1 (2008)
Amphibious usage No
Status In operational service

B-2 demo film

On February 23, 2008 local time (February 22 USA-time) the first B-2 Spirit ever was crashed. The B-2 toke off with 3 other B-2's from Anderson AFB, Guam in the Pacific after it crashed. The 2-men crew escaped with their ejector seat but were taken to a military hospital for observation. The 3 other B-2's returned back to Anderson AFB. The cause of the crash is still unknown.


The B-2's were on a 4-moth deployment in case of a continuous US bomber present in the Pacific. They would be replaced by 6 B-52 Stratofortress from Barksdale AFB which are already on Anderson AFB.


The B-2 has been used during the Kosovo crisis (Operation allied Force), in Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom).
There have been used only a few B-2s in Afghanistan because the enemy artillery was very old and the B-2 wasn't needed. That's why they used the old B-52 Stratofortress which causes a Shock and Awe effect to the enemy.

Three B-2's have been used during missions against Gadhafi's regime in Libya in March 2011.

The B-2 has more flexibility and affectivity than the B-1 and B-52. The B-2 is fully stealth thanks to special material of the outside and in combination with of infrared and sound-absorbed, electromagnetic, visual material and radar. The exact information is secret.

The systems in the airplane contains about 130 computers with 2 million software lines.

Problem with the B-2 is that it flies too slow. A new bomber for the US Air Force must fly faster but also be stealthy.

Photo's B-2 Spirit



1. Northrop Grumman
2. General Electric
3. United States Air Force

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Last updated: 7 May 2017