B-2 Spirit on Low Approach Looks Like a Hovering Alien Ship

The B-2 Spirit is one of those airplanes that stand as a testimony to the creative human mind. Unlike anything that currently travels the skies of our world, this thing is not shaped like a plane, but rather like a flying wing, and it looks more like an alien ship than an Earth-made machine.
B-2 Spirit 14 photos
Photo: USAF/Senior Airman Eugene Oliver
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Of course, most of us know its shape by now, and are no longer appalled by it in the rare occasions it shows its silhouette. That doesn’t make it any less impressive as a flying machine, as this latest picture released by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) clearly shows.

What you’re looking at is the underside of a B-2 as it does a low approach flight over the RAF Fairford in the United Kingdom back in August. The plane is deployed with the 509th Bomb Wing, and was conducting a flight during a training mission over Europe and Africa.

The image shows every single one of the many edges of the aircraft, but it reveals nothing really of the thing’s inner workings. And that’s exactly how the Air Force likes it.

The flying machine was introduced by what is now Northrop Grumman back in 1997, as a heavy strategic bomber. That’s something America already had in its arsenal, but unlike anything that came before it, the B-2 was special. Or, should we say, invisible.

The shape of the aircraft, along with the materials and even the paint use on the body, all contribute to making it virtually invisible to enemy radar and other anti-aircraft defenses. Because it can fly at altitudes that can reach 50,000 feet (15,200 meters), it is also virtually invisible to the naked eye as well.

That allows the B-2 to sneak behind enemy lines traveling at speeds of close to Mach 1, and if need be drop anything from conventional bombs to nuclear ones. Luckily, even if it was deployed on the aerial battlefields of the world (Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq), the plane did not launch its deadliest cargo to date.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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