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B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber Emerges with Upgrades, Leaving Spectators in Awe!

The B-2 Spirit is a stealthy, strategic, long-range, heavy-duty bomber designed to penetrate advanced and complex air-defense systems. It can undertake all-altitude attack missions up to 50,000 feet, with an unrefueled range of over 6,000 nautical miles and more than 10,000 nautical miles with a single refueling, enabling it to reach any location on the globe within hours.

The Northrop (subsequently Northrop Grumman) B-2 Spirit, also known as the Stealth Bomber, is an American heavy strategic bomber equipped with low-observable stealth technology for penetrating dense anti-aircraft defenses. Conceived during the Cold War, this flying wing design has a crew of two. The subsonic bomber can carry both conventional and thermonuclear weapons, such as up to eighty 500-pound class (230 kg) Mk 82 JDAM GPS-guided bombs or sixteen 2,400-pound (1,100 kg) B83 nuclear bombs. The B-2 is the sole acknowledged aircraft capable of carrying large air-to-surface standoff weapons while maintaining stealth.

Development began under the “Advanced Technology Bomber” (ATB) project during the Carter administration, with its anticipated performance being one of the reasons for the cancellation of the Mach 2 capable B-1A bomber. The ATB project persisted during the Reagan administration, but concerns about delays in its introduction led to the B-1 program’s revival. Program costs increased throughout development. Designed and produced by Northrop, later Northrop Grumman, the average cost of each aircraft was US$737 million (in 1997 dollars). Total procurement costs averaged $929 million per aircraft, including spare parts, equipment, retrofitting, and software support. The entire program cost, encompassing development, engineering, and testing, averaged $2.13 billion per aircraft in 1997.

Due to its significant capital and operating expenses, the project was contentious in the U.S. Congress. The Cold War’s decline in the late 1980s substantially diminished the need for the aircraft, which was intended to penetrate Soviet airspace and attack high-value targets. During the late 1980s and 1990s, Congress cut plans to buy 132 bombers to 21. In 2008, a B-2 was destroyed in a crash shortly after takeoff, but the crew ejected safely. As of 2018, twenty B-2s are in service with the United States Air Force, which plans to operate them until 2032 when the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider is set to replace them.

The B-2 can carry out all-altitude attack missions up to 50,000 feet (15,000 m), with a range of more than 6,000 nautical miles (6,900 mi; 11,000 km) on internal fuel and over 10,000 nautical miles (12,000 mi; 19,000 km) with one midair refueling. It entered service in 1997 as the second aircraft designed with advanced stealth technology, following the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk attack aircraft. Though originally designed primarily as a nuclear bomber, the B-2 was first employed in combat, dropping conventional, non-nuclear ordnance during the Kosovo War in 1999. It later served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.

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