Designed by Northrop in the 1980s, the Spirit is shaped like a flying wing, a shape chosen because it can more easily conceal itself to enemy radar. And looked at from the side, its nose appears just like that of a predator bird, with a pointy beak sitting right beneath squinty eyes.
And a predator this thing is. It’s not meant to hunt for fighter jets or airborne threats, but to deliver its deadly cargo (both conventional and nuclear) and drop it over whatever target it set its sights on.
Once launched, the angry bird can fly for immense distances, or close to 6,000 miles (9,600 km) on a single load of fuel. It can reach speeds of just below Mach 1, and can carry with it 40,000 pounds (18,144 kg) of bombs.
The Air Force says that a single B-2 has a cost of $1.157 billion (fiscal 1998 constant dollars). At the time of writing, 20 of them are on active inventory (one which is used for testing purposes), despite the USAF planning at one point planning to have 165 of them deployed.
The one we have here is the second B-2 bomber made. Called Spirit of Arizona, it became active in 1997.