The U.S. Military Has One Super Plane That Could Silence North Korea
The U S Military Has One Super Plane That Could Silence North Korea
The B-2 Spirit was developed to take over the USAF’s vital penetration missions, able to travel deep into enemy territory to deploy their ordnance, which could include nuclear weapons. The B-2 is a flying wing aircraft, meaning it has no fuselage or tail.The blending of low-observable technologies with high aerodynamic efficiency and large payload gives the B-2 significant advantages over previous bombers. Low observability provides a greater freedom of action at high altitudes, thus increasing both range and field of view for onboard sensors. The U.S. Air Force reports its range as approximately 6,000 nautical miles (6,900 mi; 11,000 km). At cruising altitude the B-2 refuels every six hours, taking on up to 50 short tons (45,000 kg) of fuel at a time.
Due to the aircraft’s complex flight characteristics and design requirements to maintain very-low visibility to multiple means of detection, both the development and construction of the B-2 required pioneering use of computer-aided design and manufacturing technologies.The B-2 bears a resemblance to earlier Northrop aircraft: the YB-35 and YB-49 were both flying wing bombers that had been canceled in development in the early 1950s, allegedly for political reasons.The resemblance goes as far as B-2 and YB-49 having the same wingspan.
As of September 2013 about 80 pilots fly the B-2. Each aircraft has a crew of two, a pilot in the left seat and mission commander in the right, and has provisions for a third crew member if needed. For comparison, the B-1B has a crew of four and the B-52 has a crew of five.The B-2 is highly automated and, unlike most two-seat aircraft, one crew member can sleep in a camp bed, use a toilet, or prepare a hot meal while the other monitors the aircraft; extensive sleep cycle and fatigue research was conducted to improve crew performance on long sorties.