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B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber Flyover in Chicago

Sun September 13 2015 11:59 pm  http://www.arlingtoncardinal.com/?p=75394
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National Anthem B-2 Bomber

The B-2 stealth bomber of the United States Air Force is a key component of the nation’s long-range strike arsenal. According to the manufacturer, Northrop Grumman, the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber is one of the most survivable aircraft in the world. The B-2 Bomber’s stealth characteristics allow it to penetrate the most sophisticated enemy defenses and hold at risk high value, heavily defended targets. The B-2 has demonstrated its capabilities in several combat scenarios, including Operation Allied Force in Kosovo; Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and most recently, during Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya.

The B-2 is the only U.S. aircraft that combines long range, large payload and stealth in a single platform, giving it the ability to project air power anywhere in the world. It can fly 6,000 nautical miles unrefueled and 10,000 nautical miles with just one aerial refueling. With its ability to carry more than 20 tons of conventional and nuclear ordnance and deliver it precisely under any weather conditions, the B-2 also has the ability to change the outcome of a conflict with a single mission.

Northrop Grumman, the B-2 prime contractor, leads an industry team that is working with the Air Force to upgrade the B-2 to ensure that it remains fully mission capable against evolving worldwide threats. A range of upgrade programs are improving the B-2’s lethality; its ability to collect, process and disseminate battlefield information with joint force commanders or other local first responders worldwide; and its ability to receive updated target information during a mission. In upgraded form, the B-2 is designed to detect threats in real time in order to maneuver away from defense systems that have detected and acted to strike back at the B-2 Stealth Bomber.

According to Military.com modern air defense systems with greater computer processing power have given advanced air defense systems the capability to detect aircraft through a wider range of frequencies, and detect aircraft at further ranges. Modern air defense system are increasingly mobile and able to assemble data with digital, networked processing technology.

Twenty-one aircraft were built by Northrop in the original B-2 fleet. One aircraft was lost in February 2008, when the Spirit of Kansas, crashed while taking off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The crash is the only such incident in the B-2’s more than 20 years of operation. In the remaining fleet of 20 B-2 Stealth Bombers, nineteen are currently based at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, home of the 509th Bomb Wing. The remaining single aircraft is assigned to flight testing at Edwards AFB, California to validate software and weapon systems upgrades.



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