The Northrop B-2 Spirit, also known as the Stealth Bomber, is an American heavy penetration strategic bomber, featuring low observable stealth technology designed for penetrating dense anti-aircraft defenses; it is a flying wing design with a crew of two. The bomber has the capability to deploy both conventional and thermonuclear weapons, such as eighty 500 lb. (230 kg)-class (Mk 82) JDAM Global Positioning System-guided bombs, or sixteen 2,400 lb. (1,100 kg) B83 nuclear bombs. The B-2 is the only acknowledged aircraft that can carry large air-to-surface standoff weapons in a stealth configuration.  Development originally started under the “Advanced Technology Bomber” (ATB) project during the Carter administration; “its expected performance was one of his reasons for the cancellation of the supersonic B-1A bomber”[1]. The ATB project continued during the Reagan administration, but worries about delays in its introduction would lead to the reinstatement of the B-1 program as well. The winding-down of the Cold War in the latter portion of the 1980s dramatically reduced the need for the aircraft, which was designed with the intention of penetrating Soviet airspace and attacking high-value targets. During the late 1980s and 1990s, Congress slashed plans to purchase 132 bombers to 21. The B-2 is capable of 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.

[1] (Basmadjian 2003)

The B-2 Spirit over the ocean.
Bobbie Garcia, B-2 Spirit, 2015, digital, United States Air Force, accessed March 16, 2017,
The B-2 Spirit flying through the sky.
Bobbie Garcia, B-2 Spirit, 2015, digital, United States Air Force, accessed March 16, 2017,


Written by Daryl, posted by Nick.

Timeline by Lindsey. All information pulled from:

Grant, Rebecca. B-2: The Spirit of Innovation. New York, Northrop Grumman, 2001. Accessed April 3, 2017. PDF e-book.