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Northrop Grumman B-2 stealth bomber

Published on 29/10/2015 01:00 - By

It is probably due to their B-2 that aircraft manufacturer Northrop Grumman has just been awarded an 80 billion dollar, 100 aircraft contract for a new Long Range Strike Bomber (stealth bomber) by the Pentagon that slipped through the hands of Boeing and Lockheed Martin. This is probably due to the fact that the USAF knows Northrop well, having used Northrop’s B-2 stealth bomber in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya over the last eighteen years.

Developed in great secrecy by the American Northrop Grumman in the late 70’s, the B-2 took off for the first time on 17, July 1989. At the time, people working on the aircraft were sworn to secrecy. Bruce Hinds, former B-2 Chief Test Pilot: "Who are you? Can’t tell you. Where will I be working? Can’t tell you. What will I be doing? Can’t tell you. Well, with an offer like that, how could you refuse it?"

Thanks in part to the extremely flat underside of its fuselage, highly faceted forms, and overall radar-absorbing paint surface finish, the B-2 reflects radar waves thus becoming virtually undetectable. Capable of carrying 20 tons of bombs in its bomb bay for 6,800 miles (11,000 kilometres) without refuelling, the stealth bomber nevertheless has one major setback - its price. At a cost of more than two billion dollars each, the US Air Force has finally bought only 21 units of the 132 originally planned. The B-2 should remain in service until 2058.

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