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Stealth B-2 Bomber Breaks Cover as It Reaches Iceland, Looks Majestic

Over the past year or so, since we kicked off our military section, we’ve seen a wealth of incredible machines cross our screens. Most of them were aircraft, because like it or not, these winged warriors are the most spectacular of the bunch. Until now though, the stealth B-2 bomber has flown under the radar, and we didn’t have a chance of talking about it yet.
B-2 Spirit in Iceland 12 photos
B-2 Spirit in IcelandB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 SpiritB-2 Spirit
That changes this week, thanks to a single photo released recently by the U.S. Air Force (USAF). It shows a single B-2 on the tarmac at Keflavik Air Base in Iceland, one of three such planes assigned to the Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to have traveled to the European country back in August to be part of a forward operation there. A perfect fit for our Photo of the Day section, and a great opportunity to bring the plane into the spotlight.

The B-2 Spirit by its full name, the aircraft designed by Northrop Grumman is described as a “key component of the nation’s long-range strike arsenal” and “one of the most survivable aircraft in the world.”

It’s a heavy strategic bomber that can fly virtually undetected by enemy installations, designed to look like a flying wing of sorts, a shape that makes it unique in the skies of the world.

Powering it are no less than four General Electric non-afterburning turbofans that can take the plane to speeds of 560 mph (900 kph) and altitudes of 40,000 feet (12,000 meters). The bomber has a range of 6,900 miles (11,000 km), being capable of striking deep inside enemy territory, using either conventional bombs, or if need be no less than 16 nuclear ones.

Luckily, the plane has been used so far solely for conventional bombing. Its first combat mission took place during Operation Allied Force over Kosovo in the late 1990s, flying just 1 percent of the total missions, but destroying 33 percent of all targets in the eight weeks of the war.

The B-2 also holds the record for longest air combat mission in history. It happened in 2001, when a number of them flew for 44 hours over Afghanistan.

Editor's note: Gallery shows other B-2 Spirits.

 
 
 
 
 

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