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B-2 Spirit


The B-2 Spirit is a multi-role bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions. A dramatic leap forward in technology, the bomber represents a major milestone in the U.S. bomber modernization program. The B-2 brings massive firepower to bear, in a short time, anywhere on the globe through previously impenetrable defenses. Its low-observable, or "stealth," characteristics give it the unique ability to penetrate an enemy's most sophisticated defenses and threaten its most valued, and heavily defended targets.

B-2 Spirit Copyright © Bobbie Garcia, U.S. Air Force

Status

In active service

Contractors

Primary contractor: Northrop Grumman
Contractor: Boeing
Contractor: Vought Aircraft Industries, Inc.
Radar: Hughes
Engine: General Electric

Low observability

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 to 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 and flying-wing design all contribute to its "stealthiness".

Spirit of Kansas crash

On the 23rd of Feburary, 2008, a B-2 stealth bomber plunged to the ground shortly after taking off from an air base in Guam. This was the first time a Spirit has crashed. The aircraft was taking off with three others on their last flight out of Guam after a four-month deployment, part of a continuous U.S. bomber presence in the western Pacific. The crash was caused by moisture in its sensors. Water distorted the preflight readings in three of the plane's 24 sensors, making the aircraft's control computer force the B-2 to pitch up on takeoff, resulting in a stall and subsequent crash. Both pilots ejected safely just after the left wing made contact with the ground. There were no injuries on the ground or damage to buildings, and no munitions were on board.

Crew

1 Pilot
1 Mission Commander

Capacity

27 215,56 kilograms of mixed ordnance 60 000 pounds of mixed ordnance

Weapon systems

2 x Internal Weapon Bay (each bay contains two bomb rack assmeblies (BRA) for conventional weapons, or one rotary launcher assembly (RLA) for nuclear weapons)
» Mark 80 Series General Purpose Bomb (up to 80 Mk 82 bombs or 16 Mk 84 bombs)
» Joint Direct Attack Munition (80 GBU-38 JDAM or 16 GBU-31 JDAM)
» CBU-87 Combined Effects Munition (34 bombs)
» CBU-89 GATOR Mine System (34 bombs)
» CBU-97 Sensor Fuzed Weapon (34 bombs)
» Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (34 bombs)
» Quickstrike Naval Mine (80 Mk 62 mines)
» Guided Bomb Unit 28 (8 GBU-28 bombs)
» AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (16 missiles)
» AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (16 missiles)
» GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrator
» B-61 Nuclear Bomb (16 B61-7 or  8 B61-11 bombs)
» B-83 Nuclear Bomb (16 bombs)

Characteristics

Dimensions
Length: 21.3 meters 69 feet
Wingspan: 52.43 meters 172 feet
Height: 5.18 meters 17 feet
Weight
Weight: ~74 840 kilograms 160 000 pounds
Maximum takeoff weight: ~152 630 kilograms 336 500 pounds
Features
Power plant: four General Electric F118-GE-100 engines
Thrust: ~7 847 kilograms (each engine) 17 300 pounds (each engine)
Fuel capacity: ~75 750 kilograms 167 000 pounds
Speed: high subsonic
Ceiling: 15 240 meters 50 000 feet
Range: intercontinental

Aircraft list

Air Vehicle Number Aircraft name Commissioned Decommissioned Status
AV-1 Spirit of America 2000.07.14. - In active service
AV-2 Spirit of Arizona 1997.12.04. - In active service
AV-3 Spirit of New York 1997.10.10. - In active service
AV-4 Spirit of Indiana 1999.05.22. - In active service
AV-5 Spirit of Ohio 1997.07.18. - In active service
AV-6 Spirit of Mississippi 1997.05.23. - In active service
AV-7 Spirit of Texas 1994.08.21. - In active service
AV-8 Spirit of Missouri 1994.03.31. - In active service
AV-9 Spirit of California 1994.08.17. - In active service
AV-10 Spirit of South Carolina 1994.12.30. - In active service
AV-11 Spirit of Washington 1994.10.29. - In active service
AV-12 Spirit of Kansas 1995.02.17. 2008.02.23. Lost
AV-13 Spirit of Nebraska 1995.06.28. - In active service
AV-14 Spirit of Georgia 1995.11.14. - In active service
AV-15 Spirit of Alaska 1996.01.24. - In active service
AV-16 Spirit of Hawaii 1996.01.10. - In active service
AV-17 Spirit of Florida 1996.07.03. - In active service
AV-18 Spirit of Oklahoma 1996.05.15. - In active service
AV-19 Spirit of Kitty Hawk 1996.08.30. - In active service
AV-20 Spirit of Pennsylvania 1997.08.05. - In active service
AV-21 Spirit of Louisiana 1997.11.10. - In active service