autoevolution
Car video reviews:
 

B-2 Spirit Shows Us How It Is to Know a Bomber Is Out There, But Invisible

The concept of invisible aircraft has been with us for a number of years now. In this case, though, the definition of invisible has nothing to do with the ability of the aircraft to go about its business unseen by the naked eye.
B-2 Spirit ready to take off from Whiteman Air Force Base 21 photos
B-2 Spirit ready to take off from Whiteman Air Force BaseB-2 Spirit with diverse fighter jet escortB-2 Spirit with diverse fighter jet escortB-2 Spirit with diverse fighter jet escortB-2 Spirit with diverse fighter jet escortB-2 Spirit with diverse fighter jet escortB-2 Spirit at Nellis AFBB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 Spirit in IcelandB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 Spirit
Aviators call aircraft invisibility stealth. That would be the machine’s ability to avoid being detected by enemy radar and some other technological means. The key word here is “avoid,” as no aircraft ever made is totally invisible to technology.

The idea of making planes less visible, physically, first popped up in the minds of engineers in the days of the Second World War. The Germans are the ones credited to have come up with the notion of using a cellulose acetate on their planes to reduce their visibility, but actually, that had the exact opposite effect, as the stuff reflected sunlight, and made planes beacons of light in the sky.

The Germans didn’t give up and came up with something called Horten H.IX prototype, which was supposed to be undetectable by Britain’s Chain Home radar system. The plane, shaped not unlike some modern aircraft, like a simple flying wing, never came to be made though.

The first true stealth aircraft is considered to be the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk, first flown in 1981, and officially retired from active duty in 2008. Presently, the world’s fleet of stealth aircraft is not that diverse, only including the usual suspects, namely the American F-22 and F-35, the Chinese J-20, and the Russian Sukhoi Su-57.

On the bomber front, no flying weapons platform of this kind is as visible on the world stage as the B-2 Spirit. First in the air in 1989, the Northrop Grumman bird has been serving America’s needs, undetected, ever since.

The plane is a constant presence in the U.S. Air Force (USAF) releases of impressive photographs, and the one we have here, by playing the shadow game, seems to want to make us understand what America’s enemies are feeling when they know a bomber is out there, but they can’t actually see it.

The plane is deployed with the 509th Bomb Wing, as is pictured here as it was about to take off at the beginning of April from the Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.

 
 
 
 
 

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories