20th anniversary for the B-2 bomber
The mighty B-2 stealth bomber is now celebrating its 20th anniversary, being delivered 20 years ago at Whitman. Happy Birthday B-2 Spirit. The stealth bomber is getting ready to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its delivery at Whiteman Air Force Base. Although it was originally designed as a strategic bomber, one of the earliest modifications to the B-2 enabled it to deliver conventional munitions, as well. Those capabilities were put to use in Kosovo in 1999, when B-2 bombers flew 1 percent of NATO sorties, but struck 11 percent of the alliance’s targets. The B-2 was America’s first response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, striking Taliban positions in Afghanistan and opening the way for additional American forces to enter the country. The B-2 stealth bomber is a fantastic aircraft. For 20 years, the B-2 has defended America as a strategic deterrent, and when called upon by the commander-in-chief, the B-2 has led the way in combat for each of our nation’s past four armed conflicts. The B-2 program traces its origins back to the Advanced Technology Bomber of 1979, which was born at a time when the United States was interested in developing a new strategic bomber capable of striking targets in the Soviet Union. Central to the new bomber was the concept of ‘stealth,’ or the ability to evade enemy radar through a combination of advanced materials and innovative aircraft design. These new capabilities would ensure that the bomber leg of the nuclear triad would remain a viable strike option, even in some of the world’s most heavily defended airspace. Another huge milestone was reached earlier this month as Northrop celebrated the 31st anniversary of the Tacit Blue program. Many at the time reported UFO sightings which were simply the B-2 being developed and tested. TACIT BLUE was the first airplane to demonstrate low radar cross-section using curved surfaces. This flight came a year after Northrop Grumman was awarded a contract for a planned fleet of 127 aircraft. Design and production continued through the 1980s, and the B-2 was first unveiled in 1988. Only a few years later, however, the collapse of the Soviet Union and subsequent cuts to the defense budget saw the planned fleet size drop first to 75 aircraft, then to its current size of 21 aircraft. Each one is named for a state, except for two – the Spirit of Kitty Hawk and the Spirit of America. Source: fly fighter jet.