B-2 Spirit (bomber)
B-2 Spirit bombers are extremely stealthy heavy bombers, which have intercontinental range with air refueling. They are certified to carry nuclear weapons, and also large numbers of conventional bombs, usually precision-guided munitions.
The B-2 is the second generation of operational stealth aircraft. Its surfaces are much more curved than those of the F-117 Nighthawk, as at the time the F-117 was designed, not enough computer power was available to model the complex interactions of radar with curved surfaces.
The United States operates one wing of B-2 aircraft from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, which is subordinate to the Eighth Air Force. They are occasionally forward-deployed to Guam or Diego Garcia.
- Primary function: Multi-role heavy bomber
- Contractor: Northrop Grumman and Contractor Team: Boeing Military Airplanes Co., Hughes Radar Systems Group, General Electric Aircraft Engine Group and Vought Aircraft Industries, Inc.
- Power Plant: Four General Electric F118-GE-100 engines
- Thrust: 17,300 pounds each engine
- Wingspan: 172 feet (52.12 meters)
- Length: 69 feet (20.9 meters)
- Height: 17 feet (5.1 meters
- Weight: 160,000 pounds (72,575 kilograms)
- Maximum Takeoff Weight: 336,500 pounds (152,634 kilograms)
- Fuel Capacity: 167,000 pounds (75750 kilograms)
- Payload: 40,000 pounds (18,144 kilograms)
- Speed: High subsonic
- Range: Intercontinental
- Ceiling: 50,000 feet (15,240 meters)
- Armament: Conventional or nuclear weapons
- Crew: Two pilots
- Unit cost: Approximately $1.157 billion (fiscal 98 constant dollars)
- Initial operating capability: April 1997
- Inventory: Active force: 20 (1 test); ANG: 0; Reserve: 0