#15 – The U.S. Military Developed The B-2 Under The Name “Gray Project”
Here is the first of our “15 Obscure Facts About B-2 Spirits You Need To Know.” The B-2 was developed as a “Gray Project”, meaning that its development was a secret to the public but was known by certain government agencies and officials.
#14 – All B-2’s Have A Nickname
Another one our other facts about B-2 Spirits is they all have nicknames that begin with “Spirit of…”. The first B-2 is called the “Spirit of America”, and the 19th B-2 is called the “Spirit of Kitty Hawk”; all other B-2s are nicknamed after U.S. states’ names. Ex: “The Spirit of Georgia.” We love this aircraft and would like to get a scale RC vehicle that looks like the real thing.
#13 – Each B-2 Spirit Unit Is Worth Billions
This is not a an easily forgotten aircraft. The B-2 stealth bomber was projected to have a unit cost of $737 million when originally designed in the 1980s. However, when research and development is added on, each aircraft was valued at $2.1 billion per unit. Northrop Grumman’s technological breakthrough is a fascinating aircraft with intimidating capabilities, but it is also the source of tension among taxpayers and Congress.
#12 – Each B-2 Spirit Can Lift 40,000 Pounds
The B-2 can carry 40,000 pounds of bombs. The B-52 bomber can carry much more (70,000 pounds), but the Spirit’s ability to get into enemy territory undetected combined with pinpoint accuracy mean the B-2’s 40,000 pounds of bombs are usually more effective.
#11 – The B-2 Spirt Has Anti-reflective Paint
The bottom of the B-2 is painted with an anti-reflective paint which blends into the sky at high altitudes and is invisible to radar. This paint makes it invisible to the naked eye at a high enough altitude. A little off topic, but you might check out facts about F-22.
#10 – The B-2 Spirt Can Fly Long Distances
Here is an aircraft industry fact most people don’t know. In 2017 two B-2 pilots flew from Missouri to Libya and back without stopping once. That’s a 32-hour mission with multiple in-flight refuels.
#9 – As Of 2021, Only One Accident Has Destroyed A B-2 Spirit
In 2008, the only B-2 – “The Spirit of Kansas” – to ever be destroyed was lost during takeoff in Anderson Air Force Base in Guam.
#8 – The Military Quickly Repairs B-2 Spirits With A Transportable Hangar System
A transportable hangar system allows the B-2s to receive maintenance in forward locations rather than traveling all the way back to Missouri. The hangars are 126ft long, 250ft wide and 55ft high.
#7 – The Military Tried To Keep Production Of The B-2 Spirit A Secret
The secrecy during the production of the B-2 was so intense that many components were purchased using “front” companies, military officials visited production sites out of uniform and employees were routinely subjected to polygraph tests.
#6 – Pilots Can Turn Stealth Mode “On” and “Off”
The B-2s do not run “stealthy” at all times. When approaching enemy air defenses, pilot’s essentially turn on stealth mode – a series of maneuvers that the public does not know.
#5 – The B-2 Participated In Operation Odyssey Dawn
The B-2 was the first U.S. aircraft in action during Operation Odyssey Dawn in 2011. The B-2 assisted in enforcing the UN-mandated no-fly zone over Libya.
#4 – The B-2 Spirt Has A Lot Of Flight Operating Hours Behind It
Since 1989, B-2 Spirits have flown more than 14,000 sorties and accumulated more than 75,000 flight operating hours.
#3 – Civilians Can’t See A B-2 Spirit Close Up
There are no operational B-2s on display. All aircraft are either in use or destroyed.
#2 – The B-2 Spirt Has Household Amenities
The B-2 also has a bed, a toilet and a hot plate for food. The bed is a folding cot placed behind the ejection seat area.
#1 – B-2 Spirit Has Witnessed Legal Trouble
Our last B-2 Spirit Fact we did not expect! There has been an out-of-court settlement between the U.S. government and Northrop Grumman regarding allegations of fraud and/or overcharging.