The B-2A, sometimes called the "Stealth Bomber," was designed using sophisticated low-observable technologies that give the aircraft a very low radar cross section. The B-2A is capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear weapons against heavily defended targets.
The first B-2A was officially rolled out of the Northrop assembly facility in Palmdale, California in November of 1988. The first flight was eight months later on July 17, 1989.
The USAF originally planned to purchase 165 B-2As; however, the changing world situation and budget constraints reduced the number bought to just 21. Two additional non-flying airframes were created for testing and evaluation. The B-2A became operational in the mid-1990s with the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.
Armament: 40,000 lbs. of conventional or nuclear weapons
Engines: Four General Electric F118-GE-100 (non-afterburning) turbofans 17,300 lbs. thrust each
Maximum speed: high subsonic
Range: Approx. 6,500 nautical miles without refueling
Service ceiling: Approx. 50,000 ft.
Span: 172 ft.
Length: 69 ft.
Height: 17 ft.
Weight: 336,500 lbs. take off weight
Crew: Two (aircraft commander, pilot)
Serial numbers: 82-1066 to 82-1071; 88-328 to 88-332; 89-127 to 89-129; 90-040 & 90-041; 92-700; 93-1085 to 93-1088
Northrup Grumman B-2 Spirit bomber S/N 82-1070, Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio (Staff Photo)
Northrup Grumman B-2 Spirit bomber overhead view (US Air Force Photo)
Northrup Grumman B-2 Spirit bomber in flight (US Air Force Photo)
US Air Force B-2 Spirit bomber during aerial refueling operations (US Air Force Photo)
U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit at the Artic Thunder Air Show, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska
Photo courtesy of Alaska Professional Photography