Thirty years ago, on July 17, 1989, the B-2 Spirit Bomber took its first flight.
The world’s premier stealth bomber still proves itself one of the Air Force’s most lethal and capable bombers to this day, able to respond anywhere in the world.
The 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs released a video compilation of footage of the B-2 for its 30th birthday. Watch the video, made by by Airman 1st Class Thomas Johns, here:
Here is some older footage, from 2008, of the B-2 taking off, flying and landing:
There are only two Air Force units that operate the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, and the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., is one of them. This Air Force unit has the capability to launch combat maneuvers anywhere in the world. The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber is known for delivering large and precision-guided weaponry.
The 509th has been engaged in many conflicts since first using this capability during 1999 as part of Operation Allied Force. There, it took out 33 percent of the Serbian targets in eight weeks, according to the Air Force.
The B-2 was the first response by the military on 9/11 and also to occupy the Taliban and Al Queda forces in Oct. 2001, according to Whiteman Air Force Base.
The B-2 Stealth Bomber is practically indestructible. It has the capacity to “fly 6,000 miles without the need to refuel and it can haul in excess of 20 tons of weapons, both conventional and nuclear and deliver them in any weather conditions,” Northrop Grumman stated.
The B-2 is undetectable and unable to be tracked by adversaries, even the most sophisticated. It also uses a crew of two pilots, whereas the B-1 used a crew of four. It can be armed with conventional or nuclear weapons.
The B-2’s primary function is a multi-role heavy bomber that is powered by four General Electric F118-GE-100 engines and each of those engines has a thrust of 17,300 pounds. The wingspan is a staggering 172 feet, its body 69 feet in length and 17 feet in height, weighing in at 160,000 pounds. It has a fuel capacity of 167,000 pounds and a payload of 40,000 pounds. It flies at high subsonic speed with a ceiling of 50,000 feet.
There are 20 B-2 Spirits in inventory, each costing around $1.157 billion.
The B-2 is made of advanced composite materials, including resin-impregnated graphite fiber, which helps it keep a sleek profile while remaining stealth.
While Northrop Grumman manufactured the aircraft, “Boeing built the outboard portion of the wing, the aft center fuselage section, landing gears, fuel system and weapons delivery system,” Boeing revealed. In 1991, the B-2 design team was awarded the Collier Trophy for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America by the National Aeronautic Association of the U.S.A.