Talk:Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Work needed

Having been originally copied from [1], this article reads a bit much like a press release. Could probably use some work to tone it down. -- nknight 15:00 Mar 15, 2003 (UTC)

Yeah indeed this article is awful! 22:36, 27 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Be Bold. How about helping improve things yourself? Making language less press-release like doesn't even require much research. It should be easy to search for other B-2 material in order to gt a more balanced view pretty easily. You're a Wikipedia editor just like everyone else ... the easiest way to fix a page is to fix it. —Morven 00:55, 28 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Uh...why was this page moved? RADICALBENDER 02:56, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I moved it because it is better known as the B-2 Bomber than the B-2 Spirit.

Whitfield Larrabee

Er, no. The official name is B-2 Spirit. B-2 Bomber can redirect to B-2 Spirit. [[User:RadicalBender|R<sm

"This aircraft was mainly built to be used in a Nuclear War, not peacetime."

Isn't this a tautology? A combat aircraft like a bomber, by definition, is only employed in a war setting.

I found the third paragraph of the Combat section confusing. Does this just state that the plane only needs refueling without other maintenance between missions? Is this different from other planes? ArrowmanCoder 17:22, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)

No, it refers to the fact that the B-2 is based exclusively in the continental U.S., and that Operations at Diego Garcia marked the first time that the aircraft had staged from elsewhere. It's also impressive to think that the aircraft flew from the U.S. to afganistan, dropped bombs, and then flew down to the Indian Ocean. -Lommer | talk 22:53, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)

aircraft cost

this page used to list the cost of the aircraft based on total project cost / total planes produced. I didn't spot any cost information this time (not that I looked very hard), but does anyone have a value for what it would cost to actually build a single plane excluding R&D costs?

I think that's probably classified (or not even calculated). But if anyone else has sources... -Lommer | talk 17:36, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Northrop marketing propaganda in the early 90's said roughly $800M if I recall correctly. There was a move afoot at the time to get more B-2s built after George H W Bush basically cancelled the program in his "New World Order" State of the Union speech in January 1991, so these numbers were trotted out to counter the $44.4B (total cost of the program)/20 aircraft math that was being used to criticize the program.--Alanz01 16:15, 6 August 2005 (UTC)
It seems to me that the statement "Some writers have suggested that the huge program cost may actually include costs for other black projects that remain classified" is not properly sourced. It should be deleted if not properly sourced. Also, if some writers have said this without any substantial source for their claims, it should not be in the article because it lacks any substantiation. One could make the same claim about any governmental expenditure. I published an article on the B-2 several years ago and I never came across any claims that part of the disclosed cost was attributable to other black programs. Whitfield Larrabee 04:39, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
Can someone explain to me how information contained in the reference for the cost: [2], justifies the $2.2bn figure? Or provide a different reference? Breadandroses 19:35, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

dangerous gasoline

Is it true the B-2 spirit is fueled with a special gasoline that is highly dangerous to humans? --Abdull 18:57, 28 July 2005 (UTC)

No, it uses standard JP-4 or JP-8. The fuel you're thinking of is probably hydrazine, a very poisonous fuel that its auxiliary power unit (a small engine in the aircraft used to power the B-2's various systems when the engines are off and there is no external power available) uses. Hydrazine is used in other aircraft's APUs as well, so the B-2 is not unique in this regard.--Alanz01 16:15, 6 August 2005 (UTC)

Comment on Specs Section Photo

The image of the B-2 dropping the large number of bombs in the specs section is an 80 weapon drop Mk82 flight test bomb run performed over the Pacific Ocean off Pt Mugu in 1994.

Name of B-2s ?

B-2s are all named "Spirit of (state)". When was this practice adopted? If original 135 were made, there wouldn't be enough states to be named and reduced 75 is still more than the number of states. -- Revth 00:47, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

Although the number of B-2's was reduced to 75, the number was further reduced to 21, if the article here is correct, solving the issue of the number of states. Although surely if the original 135, or later the 75, were made then this system of names would be changed.--The1exile 17:45, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

I don't remember when that policy was implemented but it was certainly after the final buy reduction decision. I do know they were named after states that had major players in the B-2 program - California (Northrop), Washington (Boeing), Missouri (Whiteman AFB) and for example the home state of the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee (Georgia) and other such criteria.--Alanz01 20:09, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

Either the List of names is incorrect, or this statement is incorrect. As the last time I checked there is no state of "Kitty Hawk"... I do not know which is incorrect, but would hope some who does would correct this.

It's an exception to the rule - sort of like the naming of the "USS Hyman G. Rickover", when the "Los Angeles"-class submarines are nearly exclusively named for cities. There are lots of these... --SebastianP 20:04, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Why is the Spirit of Oklahoma nicknamed the Spirit of San Francisco? Is it really nicknamed that or is it an error? 01:37, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Second paragraph confusing.

I have issues with the second paragraph. It starts off claiming:

Originally designed to deliver nuclear weapons during the Cold War [3], support for the B-2 dwindled as military spending declined in real dollars during the Clinton Administration.

but then:

The original procurement of 135 aircraft was later reduced to 75 in the late 1980s. Finally, President George H. W. Bush reduced the final buy quantity to the 21 already bought in his now famous "New World Order" State of the Union speech in January, 1991.

which contradicts it: if the numbers were dropped to 21 by Bush I, this was before the Clinton Administration.

Then it says:

In May of 1995, in a study commissioned by Congress, the Institute For Defense Analysis concluded that after the demise of the Soviet Union, there was no need for more B-2s. As a result of public outcry over its cost, opposition from the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs of Staff and increasing opposition in the U.S. Congress, only 21 B-2s have been produced instead of a total of 135 planes as had been proposed.

Yet the previous sentences stated that Bush I kept the numbers down to 21; no further cuts were made.

Finally, the next sentence:

Given that much of the cost of the B-2 was in research and development, the cost per unit would have been much lower if all 135 had been produced.

seems to reference an original unit cost figure which the article previously contained? Without that figure, this sentence lacks context.

I'm not expert enough on the topic to reconcile the differences easily: anyone more knowledgable who can bash this into a coherent and truthful shape? —Matthew Brown (T:C) 21:12, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

It's confusing but not necessarily contradictory. George H W Bush did reduce the buy to 21 aircraft. However, for several years after that (into the Clinton Administration) Northrop and a Seattle-area Congressional Representative lobbied to get authorization for an additional 20 or so aircraft approved by Congress. The were unsuccessful since the B-2's support was flagging both in the USAF and in Congress by then. I seem to recall that the DoD was not interested at all in buying more B-2s; they'd moved on to JSF and F-22s by then.--Alanz01 22:51, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

I recall the same chronology as Alanz01. N-G had a big drive for employees to write their representatives, etc to increase the number up from 21. There may have been action from the employee PAC (yes, N-G had/has a Political Action Committee on behalf of its employees in addition to its own lobbying). --KNHaw 19:04, 6 April 2006 (UTC)


This article was originally copied from a US military website and in parts still reads like it ("The B-2 can bring massive firepower to bear anywhere on the globe." .. "Its low-observable, or "stealth," characteristics give it the ability to penetrate an enemy's most sophisticated defenses and threaten its most valued, and heavily defended, targets.") It needs some tender, loving NPOV editing and some additional sources.--Eloquence* 14:23, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

I worked on the B-2 program for about 10 years [ 1982-92] as an Engineer in the manufacturing side - and retired from Boeing in 1995. I've noted that most all discussions as to program cost -or cost per plane- do not take into account the tremendous extra costs involved in security constraints. When mixed in with the 'write -off' of tooling and normal start up costs of any aiframe, the distortion makes good press for the "" $$5000/per toilet seat "" "hyperbole types, but adds nothing but smoke to the few real facts that are available. Trying to compare the resultant B-2 airframe costs to a commercial airframe cost structure is an exercise in futility. So lets back up a bit and consider the expected cost **savings ** involved which, if one looks carefully were publicized in the late 1980's when the program came out of the black world. Examples include 1) not having to have xx support aircraft per bomber force to take out missle defenses before sending in the bombers. 2 ) By reducing the number of 'support' aircraft and their tankers, logistics, etc, the cost of a bomb-missile on target is significantly reduced over the LIFE of the bomber and especially during training missions, etc. But back to 'production' costs which, when stripped of the security costs, and based on amortizing the tooling costs over say 120 aircraft AND a chance to come way down a classic learning curve, would probably come out to be only about 2 to 3 times that of a comparable weight commercial aircraft airframe. Yes the 'development' costs of using composites in a major structure WAS high, but the long term maintenace costs of the airframe were reduced- compared to its 'aluminum/titanium ' counterparts. Yes the costs of maintaining the Stealth characteristics is expensive- but that is a unique military cost- and its costs should be applied to the ' force reduction ' portion of the equation. Just what those split/relative percentage costs are I do not know and are probably still classified. I think it is sufficient to say that the unique-military and security costs probably amounted to the MAJORITY of the widely touted 'program' costs used to assign the x billion/plane numbers. As time progresses, I'll try to add some of the publicly available facts/handouts I've stashed away which will be more specific. Don Shuper 08:22, 23 February 2006 (UTC) UPDATE MARCH282006 RE B-2 COSTS- Here is an short extract that sums up the cost issues on the B-2. It was found in an excellenta series of articles in the recent issue of Aviation WEEK March 27,2006 The cover listed as ' The B-2 dividend" and internally as "Legacy of B-2 Bomber Innovations Apparent in J-UCAS and Other Programs By William B. Scott" found at

" During the Cold War, weapon system performance was given top priority, trumping cost considerations. Whatever resources were deemed necessary to meet national security goals, they were made available, despite the cost. "We kept a top-10 list of [B-2 concerns] on the briefing-room wall," Myers recalls. "We were seven years into the program before 'cost' made that list." But those days are gone. "I'm not sure we'll ever see another program like that again," he adds." [Albert F. Myers, Northrop Grumman's corporate vice president for strategy and technology.Myers joined Northrop Corp. in 1981 as manager of B-2 flight controls engineering, and later served as chief project engineer, then deputy program manager and vice president of test operations. ] "

I'd suggest that the above quote and referenced appropriately would be appropriate for inclusion into the basic discussion/history of the B-2 program.

Thanks for finding that AW&ST article. It has several items that might benefit the Wikipedia B-2 article. Above quote is interesting, but there are already so many cost-related statements in this Wikipedia article that it feels unbalanced. By comparison see the more balanced articles on F-117 and SR-71. I like the above quote, but just adding it to the article as currently written seems problematic. If the article was restructured it might fit better. I'll try to do that and incorporate the above quote. Joema 11:27, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Another minor correction - the article claims "An additional cost driver was that the mission was changed in 1985 from a high altitude bomber to a low altitude penetrating bomber, which required a major redesign"

While it was no doubt a cost driver - the low altitude mission change was anticipated and the essential structural related changes were well underway BY 1985. I believe 1982-83 would be a better date for a mission change.

Side note - There shoul be an old av week report around somewhere that describes the most recent irag ' war' and the use of the B-2 which described the 'gotcha' regarding initial deployment that most missed. because of the high commercial air traffic across the atlantic- and the need to maintain secrecy- the initial trips wound up reguiring the b2 to fly at about 20,000 feet-well BELOW all commercial flight lanes. This in turn required more tanking due to the higher fuel consumption, etc. -" best laid plans of mice -men- and military planners aft gang aglay "

The prime directive of an encyclopedia is simply describe the topic. Yet most of this first section pontificates on the project cost. A reader could go away knowing little about the topic except it's allegedly costly. That is a failure of the main mission of an encyclopedia -- to describe the topic. The topic is not titled "controversy of B-2 cost". If someone wants to write a separate article on that, feel free.
An example to help illustrate. Look at Project Apollo. It cost far more than the B-2, yet the first section doesn't go into huge detail about cost, the scientists who were against it, etc. Why? Because the main purpose of an encyclopedia is to describe the topic.
Another example (military this time). Look at M1 Abrams. That system was very expensive, complex, and controversial. Yet the first section doesn't spend 80% of the space elaborating on that, on "questions remain about whether it will work, whether it's worth the cost", etc. Why? Because the main purpose of an encyclopedia is describe the topic.
Does that mean you can't mention cost or political issues at all? No, but the space devoted to that should be balanced and in line with other articles on similar subjects, and similar articles in other encyclopedias such as Britannica and Encarta. Joema 15:47, 23 February 2006 (UTC)
Before applying this tag, I think it needs to be discussed. First of all, the existing article has both positive and negative aspects of it. Secondly, the examples you gave are likely true, though perhaps they need to be reworded. Thirdly, even though the source of the article might have been a government page, the text has been extensively rewritten. I know, because I have contributed chunks to this page (none of which read in the manner you are pointing out.) —Joseph/N328KF (Talk) 14:31, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Actually, you've got it backwards. The NPOV dispute tag is applied and then a discussion is initiated; see Wikipedia:NPOV dispute#How to initiate an NPOV debate?. The tag is only removed when there is a consensus to do so, that is, when the dispute is over. You cannot simply claim that this is the case because you disagree with the person who initiated the dispute; the tag does not state that the article is not neutral, it states that there are neutrality objections against it, which is a fact. Your removal of the tag is therefore inappropriate and against policy, and I have reverted it.
I have voiced my objections to specific passages. That other passages are more balanced is not the point. If I find the time, I will give the article a copyedit (the German version reads much better), but until the objections are resolved, the article is rightly and properly marked as being in dispute.--Eloquence* 14:52, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
I see. So you're continuing the fashionable trend of slapping the {{npov}} tag on any article that doesn't read the way you want. Great. —Joseph/N328KF (Talk) 15:02, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Yes, it not appropriate to just slap a NPOV dispute tag if you have an issue with just a few sentences. Just change them and then discuss the changes in the talk page. If the article was seriously biased and others did not agree to change to NPOV, then you could slap a "NPOV dispute tag" on it. Note that no one 'disputed' any changes you recommended.

I examined some earlier versions, and I agree there were a few "peacock" terms that weren't consistent with an encyclopedic tone. However the solution is remove just those, not jam a bunch of pro/con stuff into the article. Our primary goal as encyclopedia writers is simply describe the topic, not pass judgement on it. That applies no matter how strongly you feel about it. E.g, the Wikipedia articles on abortion and evolution simply describe those topics, they don't slant the coverage, or burden it with "Crossfire-style" pro/con positions.
The Wikipedia article on automobiles doesn't fill half of the first section discussing the environmental costs, or how cars have killed more people than all 20th century wars combined. Why? Because those aren't immediately relevant to describing what a car is, how it works, who developed it, etc.
If you want a better idea what this article should be like, examine these: Joema 21:45, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Just because a person is a pacifist doesn't mean he/she can slap NPOV tags willy nilly on anything he/she doesn't like. (note the indirection of the comment) Get rid of it. Haizum 05:05, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

If nobody objects, I'll be happy to revise the article to be more consistent with other similar articles, e.g, Tupolev Tu-95, B-52 Stratofortress, B-1 Lancer. Even if that doesn't please everybody, it would be a better base from which to continue changes, as the current version has so many problems. Joema 16:35, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

Would it be appropriate to mention the problems with the B-2 in the Pentagon's Operational Test and Evaluation 2003 Annual Report[6]? It mentions that the B-2's sortie rate is still below it's original requirments and its Defensive Avionics systems still dont work properly. Ill add an external link to the document, but Ill hold off on any other changes till Ive heard other's opinions. DarthJesus 22:23, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

The guiding principle is an encyclopedia article should describe and explain the topic, not critique it. It's OK to mention some problems and limitations, if those are appropriate and don't outweigh the main article. Consistency is important. It's illogical if an article is saturated with criticism, yet other similar articles about more problematic systems have none. E.g, there's no criticism in the Wikipedia articles on V-22 Osprey, B-1 Lancer, Harrier II, and B-58 Hustler. Yet those systems were much more problematic than the B-2. That makes it appear someone with a vendetta influenced the article, which calls into question the scholarly impartiality and even the legitimacy of an encyclopedia.
So yes it's OK to mention some of those items, but it should be in good taste and purely informational in nature, not like a "60 Minutes" investigative journalism piece. In general such items should be an exceedingly small percentage of the article, and the tone should not be critical. Joema 23:15, 3 March 2006 (UTC)


one was shot down over Serbia in 1999...

No B-2 has ever been shot down or even crashed. You're probably thinking about a F-117 Nighthawk. Joema 14:07, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

AV-8 88-0329 Spirit of Missouri are break down over Serbia in 1999. That plane are not more in service.


"Later missions to Iraq were launched and returned to Whiteman AFB in Missouri." Launched from where? The distance from Baghdad to Kansas City, Missouri is almost 11000 km. The distance from Diego Garcia to Baghdad is much more than 4000 km. The range of the aircraft is only 12000 km -- does this actually mean 24000, 12000 each way (in contradiction to Range (aircraft))? Joshua Davis 20:51, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

I'm sure they used aerial refueling, as depicted in the image in this article. Aerial refueling is used even for aircraft with longer range than the B-2, such as the B-52 Stratofortress. Joema 17:19, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

Naming vs First Plane Delivered

One paragraph states that the first B-2 delivered was the "Spirit of Missouri", whhile the list of B-2 names below lists 7 bombers numerically before it. Now, I'm sure the explanation is nice and simple, and my own guess would simply be that plane was specifically picked to be the first delivered due to it's name, since they were to be station in an AFB in Missouri. However, I would like to know more. How did the others get their nicknames? Where they used for testing first, thus making the first manufactured after that group, also beingthe first w/o a nickname, the first to be delivered? I would assume that AV-1 through AV-7 are also in service... is this so? I just feel there is some more, good information out there I don't know yet, but would like to. --Reverend Loki 21:45, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

Aircraft design

I am sure not much is available on why the aircraft has such atypical angles and overall design; but a brief synopsis would be appreciated. --DragonFly31 14:23, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Rate of climb

The article doesn't list rate of climb in the performance section, nor does it say it's classified. All that's there is the unit markers. BioTube 17:39, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Contrary statement

The B-2, akin to the F-117, relies on very low observability and signature. This condition is compromised if the aircraft is flown in wet conditions. This is false.

I've removed the later part of the quote as it contradicts itself. Feel free to add it again if we can determine if it is true or not. // Azninja

Holloman AFB suspends flight operations for the F-117 because, as one woman who worked there put it, ‘the planes are made of cardboard and come unglued during the rain’. Since the B-2 uses the same (or similar, I forget which) materials it should be in the same boat. TomStar81 09:21, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
The planes are not built of cardboard or glue and a quote from "one woman" is hardly evidenceBQZip01 18:03, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

B-2 antigravity speculation removed

Removed long speculative digression about B-2 leading edge electrostatic charge improving thrust or lift via (essentially) antigravity. No rational basis for this, depite being published as speculation in 1992 Aviation Week (Not Jane's Defense Week). This is an encyclopedia not Usenet. I believe the article is reprinted here: [7]. Joema 14:12, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

  • I just want to say "thank you" for your initivie in removing that frankly stupid section of this article, and I just want to say that I wish I bothered to take such initivite myself. 21:12, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
  • I suggest that the antigravity stuff -- of which there is a huge amount on the Above Top Secret forum -- is related to the "fact" that the B-2 has some very unusual high voltage charging of its leading wing edge and also the exhaust stream. There are several sources, here is one: From this source, I quote: "For reasons not yet de-classified, the B-2 charges its leading edge to a very high electrical potential difference from its exhaust stream. It has been suggested (by Jane's Defence) that it augments the B-2's low thrust main engines. It is also a well known phenomenon that an ionised gas (plasma) will scatter a radar beam far more effectively than a solid surface of any conceivable shape. This could be the purpose of the high voltage leading edge. Another possibility is that it is for the purpose of reducing drag, since the leading edge of the B-2 might then move through a partial vacuum of ionised air which may be ionised and repelled by the high voltage. In any case, it is however true that Northrop engineers conducted wind tunnel tests using high voltage on a testbed wing leading edge to reduce supersonic drag as far back as 1968. These tests were with a view to breaking up the airflow ahead of the wing using electrical forces in order to soften a sonic boom. How this applies (if indeed it does at all) to the B-2 after an interval of many years is uncertain. The B-2 is (officially) a subsonic vehicle, so there would appear to be no immediate link, however tantalising the connection. Though intriguing, the true nature of this feature will probably not be known to the public for some very considerable time." Please note I place this quote here in the discussion area, not in the article body. -- SunSw0rd 17:55, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
  • The above source was itself taken from an earlier version of the Wikipedia B-2 article. In other words, it's a self-referencing, or circular citation. I don't know what the original source was, but a reference in support of Wikipedia that was itself copied verbatim from Wikipedia carries no weight. Also, a conspiracy discussion forum like is no more a credible reference for an encyclopedia than a Usenet discussion. See WP:Reliable sources, and Exceptional claims require exceptional evidence. Joema 19:24, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
So perhaps you would prefer a direct quote from Janes Defence Weekly. " While airframe shaping is part of the QSP approach, DARPA is asking companies to look at other means of sonic boom suppression. DARPA specifically mentions the use of plasmas to reduce drag at supersonic speed. Russian work dating back to the 1970s indicates that it is possible to reduce the intensity of the shock wave from an aeroplane's nose by generating an electrical field in the airflow, which creates a plasma, or electrically charged gas stream.
The USAF Research Laboratory has sponsored a number of tests in an effort to reproduce the Russian plasma results. So far, the US researchers say they do not completely understand the mechanism involved. For example, there is no agreement as to whether the shock reduction is caused by heat, by the change in the molecular structure of the gas caused by the plasma, or both. Tests continue in the US and Russia, using a variety of plasma generators (some with inert gas injection) to create stable and streamer-like discharges.
It is safe to assume that other plasma-aerodynamics research has been carried out under classified programs, because of the technology's potential for reducing the drag of supersonic aircraft. Some of this work may be available to the DARPA effort." SunSw0rd 17:37, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
I would say that supercavitation is related phenomenon. This phenomenon is used e.g. with super-fast torpedoes, like the Russian Shkval. --MoRsE 17:49, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Removed statement about B-2 Spirit of Missouri being shot down in 1999

It obviously did not happen as there are many dated images of the Spirit of Missouri since then: [8], [9], [10] Joema 22:23, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Those photos are no proof.
What you see today as "Spirit of Missouri" is a new aircraft. US sources confirmed, Russian sources confirmed and Serbian sources confirmed this kill. I even have photos of the crash site and photos of pieces of this aircraft. But official politics are "deny". I'll not go deeply into this. I just wanted to make an statement that this craft WAS destroyed. [11] Yurion
"Russian sources" :LOL: What did they have to do with this war except for their blatant anti-americanism? Nothing at all. Unless they littered the Serbian soil with their observers (which certainly didn't happen) they just "confirmed" what the others said to them without having any knowledge of their own. This page from said "Please contact them if you have any information about new NATO losses or if you can add anything to the information already contained in this table". Conclusion? They will add anything that suits their propaganda goals without bothering to verify. Certainly not a credible source, just ruskies' brag.B-2Admirer 10:18, 11 September 2007 (UTC)
The stealth aircraft that was shot down over Kosovo in 1999 was a F-117 not a B-2 --Paladin 13:48, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
I can explain: There is a wild conspiracy theory that the B-2 "Spirit of Missouri" was shot down in the Kosovo conflict in June 1999. Supposedly it was stupidly flying very low which gave the anti-aircraft missiles a better chance. The pilots were too dumb to know their JDAM GPS-guided bombs were equally accurate when dropped from 40,000 feet. To cover up things, the U.S. Air Force repainted another B-2 with the same markings until they could build a replacement. They also bought off or brainwashed the B-2 crewmember's relatives to keep their silence. This clever ruse was possible because all 21 B-2s were never seen simultaneously at the same place. The Serbs also cooperated in the conspiracy by not showing any B-2 component wreckage with serial numbers, unlike the downed F-117A which was widely televised. That kind of thing is fine for Usenet, but this is an encyclopedia. Appropriately, WP:NOT says "You might wish to go to Usenet or start a blog if you want to convince people of the merits of your favorite views". That is good advice in this case. Joema 19:57, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

B-2s being shot down in Allied Force make for a good bedtime story. However, that is all it is. No fact. Just consider alone that the B-2 being nuke capable is part of the START treaty. It's inventory is always known by TREATY. A missing/lost airframe couldn't be hidden. Want to deploy it to Guam? Got to tell the Russians. Diego? Ditto. 6 November 2006( ELP ).

You have proof? Show us just ONE picture or a legal document.BQZip01 18:06, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
It is known that a second stealth aircraft was hit by SAM fire in the Kosovo campaign. The damaged plane returned to base with great difficulty and wrecked itself in a belly-up landing so much it never flew again. Whether that stealth plane was an F-117 or a B-2 is not specified. 19:28, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
"It is known..." is not proof of any kind. It is speculation unless corroborated. Do you even have a semi-reputable website to back this up? If not, it is not verifiable and should not be included. :::I can say "It is known that most airplanes actually fly better when inverted (upside down), but it is an FAA/US government conspiracy..." but it doesn't make it true. BQZip01 talk 22:23, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Removed statement about B-2 withdrawal from Kosovo operation due to F-117A shootdown

The F-117A was shot down on March 27, 1999. Use of other F-117As and B-2 bombers continued after this in the Kosovo operation: [12], [13]. Joema 22:49, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Not stealthy when wet?

I reverted the addition about not being stealthy when wet. These statements apparently stem from a 1997 GAO report which has been heavily politicized and isn't representative of current real world B-2 operational issues. The actual and current operational B-2 limitations seem less restricted and more complex. Also in general the B-2 operates from 40,000 feet (which is far above rain and the weather) using GPS-guided bombs. It's not like the F-117A stealth fighter which bombs from relatively low altitude (in the weather) using laser-guided bombs. For details see:

Uh, the article says it's a low-altitude bomber, which required "significant changes" from the original, high-altitude bombing platform. Furthermore, hurricanes and thunderclouds regularly reach up to 60,000 feet. And I'd also like to point out that the nighthawk is hardly a fighter. ... aa:talk 18:57, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
Almost all aircraft avoid thundestorms and hurricanes at all costs, so this argument is very weak. "Stealth fighter" is its name and designation; its mission is clearly that of a bomber.BQZip01 18:10, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Weapons update

B-2 now has the ability to employ an 80 JDAM drop of 500lb. GBU-38 JDAMs. Video of a 2003 test: I would recommend that the "Feature" section mention this a bit or someone will think it can only frag 16 aimpoints with PGMs.

Armament section of the article: What the heck is a JDAM-102 ????

Also of minor interest,some pre-Boeing JDAM history here: Before the final DOD contract was awarded for GPS assisted precision guided munitions, Northrop, one of the competitors was already having their "GAM" used on the B-2. The B-2 dropped Northrop "GAMs" before the Boeing product. Boeing later won the full contract. Also according to that source, the GBU-37 was the first "bunker buster" munition to be used with the aircraft. The Wiki article mentions GBU-28. GBU-28 info here: If it mentions that, it should also mention GBU-37. As GBU-28 has laser seaking ability ( a Paveway seeker on the nose ) a B-2 would either have to have the target "buddy lased" by another source as the B-2 has no laser ability like a LANTIRN/MANTIRN, LITENING, SNIPER or similar. One source ( already mentioned in the external links of the Wiki Article: Mentions "Enhanced" Paveway... EGBU-28. ( EGBU-28 info: )There is a difference. GBU-28 is laser seeking only. The "E" for "Enhanced Paveways" have a dual use option added to them where upon your choice, you can have them reach their target via GPS/INS assist similar to JDAM if needed, or a combination of GPS/INS and laser seeking terminal. The original laser seeking-only GBU-28 ( someone correct me ) was first dropped by the F-111 in combat ( Desert Storm ). And later with the F-15E ( Allied Force ). So I would be suprised if GBU-28s were common with the Whiteman crowd. The original GBU-28s were crude affairs produced quickly from old 8" artillery barrels. Newer ones are produced to spec. A public consumption news piece I saw right before OIF 2003 where Greta Van Sustern ( FoxNews ) did a feature on Whiteman, it clearly showed in the tour, GBU-37 and JDAM GBU-31 series ( Mk84 or BLU-109 2000lb. mated to JDAM kit ) on display. This would lead me to believe that at that time GBU-37 (GPS/INS)( someone correct me ) was the bunker buster of choice with the B-2. The EGBU-28 source above mentions that the EGBU-28 will replace the GBU-37. Unfortunately, I don't think we will have any munitions specialists or aircrew/planners from Whiteman that would be willing to speak on such a thing. It is my opinion that if you are going to mention the 28 it should read EGBU-28 and not GBU-28. This source mentions additional useful things not mentioned in the USAF source at the bottom of the Wiki article: Just some thoughts I had. I will leave it for the original authors of this Wiki article to consider.6 November 2006 ( ELP )


Paul Tibbets ( of Enola Gay fame ) grandson was ( or still is? ) a B-2 pilot. 6 November 2006 ( ELP )

"Informal names"

Are "Informal names" of individual aircraft really relevant to an encylclopedic article? I would have removed them myself, but I don't mess with tables, as I don't know anything about them. I can understand the official names being listed, as most USAF aircraft don't have individual official names, making them unique. - BillCJ 03:43, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

I would say that if these informal names are well-known then yes they should remain (e.g. VW Beetles are affectionately referred to as 'bugs' by many people). I'm not sure if the names are popular (knowing little about the craft) but if they are known by those names to enthusiasts I would deem them worthy of retention. ny156uk 23:59, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

I think you're missing my point. I'm not talking about a name like the "Warthog" for the A-10, but the chart list names for each indiviual B-2 in service. These are most likely names given to the planes by pilots or crew, and as such have now way to be verified. - BillCJ 00:14, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

I have removed the informal names, as there are uncited and unverifiable. - BillCJ 00:20, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

If we're talking about the "Spirit of" names (Missouri, California, Texas, Georgia, etc) no, they weren't given by pilots or crews, they were given by the AF and Northrop as part each aircraft's delivery ceremony. Some of the flight test aircraft had "nicknames" such as "Fire and Ice" and "Christine" (named after the Steven King novel abou the possessed car because it was such a cranky beast) which were given by the flight test folks at Edwards. - Alanz01 05:06, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Again, my point is being missed. The chart lists those names under "Formal". There there isn't a direct source for those names, I have seen them in published sources, and there is probably a DOD site somewhere with the whole list. THose aren't the names being referred to here. - BillCJ 05:49, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Removed information about the B2 being tracked at british airshow

This information is incorrect. The B2 at the airshow was required to be in sight of british radar. A special package was attached to it which gave away its position.

Where's the source for the specs?

I thought that the max speed of the B-2 was clasified. So could someone get a citation for the specs of the airplane?Fatdelear 19:38, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Im almost certain that the speed for the B-2 is classified since the military's website lists the speed as high sub-sonic, look for your self 16:16, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

regarding specs, IO would liek to add that on FAS, ordnance of B-2 is said to be 18,000 kg,

while in this wiki article, it makes it confusing, as if the ordnance of B-2 is 18,000 + 12,000 kg. You should emphasize OR in the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:38, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

Possible photo for article

This is a photo I took of a B-2 Spirit as it taxied at the Darwin International Airport in the Norther Territory, Australia. If you look close you will see that it is AV-12, BuNos 89-0127, the Spirit of Kansas. Put it here and if you think it is worthy of the article then please add it. Cheers--Looper5920 12:13, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

  • Thanks! I added your image to the Operational history section. -Fnlayson 15:59, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
* Image was deleted; removing redlink. — ERcheck (talk) 22:55, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

UFOs and the B-2

I think its worth noting that there has been some (fairly credible, really) speculation that a lot of UFO sightings were related to the B2 and other flying wing aircraft, and think it deserves a mention. Titanium Dragon 22:21, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

  • Sure, if there's something official, i.e. verifiable source, please add it. -Fnlayson 22:51, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

List of B-2 Bombers

I removed the list. A recent change to the name of one of the entries in this table made me aware that the list was added with no citation or discussion, so we have no way of knowing if any of these names are correct. The table is below in case someone can verify and cite the list. --Chuck Sirloin 20:59, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Designation Tail # Formal name
AV-1 82-1066 Spirit of America
AV-2 82-1067 Spirit of Arizona
AV-3 82-1068 Spirit of New York
AV-4 82-1069 Spirit of Indiana
AV-5 82-1070 Spirit of Ohio
AV-6 82-1071 Spirit of Mississippi
AV-7 88-0328 Spirit of Texas
AV-8 88-0329 Spirit of Missouri
AV-9 88-0330 Spirit of California
AV-10 88-0331 Spirit of South Carolina
AV-11 88-0332 Spirit of Washington
AV-12 89-0127 Spirit of Kansas
AV-13 89-0128 Spirit of Nebraska
AV-14 89-0129 Spirit of Georgia
AV-15 90-0040 Spirit of Alaska
AV-16 90-0041 Spirit of Hawaii
AV-17 92-0700 Spirit of Florida"
AV-18 93-1085 Spirit of Oklahoma
AV-19 93-1086 Spirit of Kitty Hawk
AV-20 93-1087 Spirit of Pennsylvania
AV-21 93-1088 Spirit of Louisiana
AV-22–AV-135 cancelled
Looks like that change was vandalism, but you are right, we have no way to tell. It used to have a list of "informal" names, but I removed that awhile back as being totally unverifiable (see discussion above). A Google search turned up several individual names, usually being named in delivery ceremonies, so these are official names sanctioned by the USAF. However, I could find no single list of all the names, except on the Wikipedia mirror sites. Hopefully someone else can find a verifiable source, as these names are often used in news reports. - BillCJ 21:31, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
  • If one source could be found that'd be great. Otherwise, that could be a big pain to find all of them. I don't see the names as adding that much, imo. -Fnlayson 21:59, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
    • Here's the list you are looking for, but I'm not sure what the numbers on the left are. They clearly aren't tail numbers, but might be the serial number of the airframe that the manufacturer gave it? . In addition, I'd like to say that the names of each of the bombers personalizes them somewhat and IMHO adds to the article. BQZip01 22:35, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
I am glad that you found a list like that, but because that page shows no source information it is not a verifiable source. For all we know, the list on that page came from this article. We need a better WP:VER source than that. --Chuck Sirloin 23:03, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
FAS.ORG has a list near the bottom of its B-2 page, along with some explanations for the names. They appear to have corroborated the names with Whiteman AFB in particular, but do not list a source as such. They also list the "informal" names, so FAS is probably the source for the original list here, as it also included the infomal names. I would accept this source as being verification of the official names and the numbers, as these are assigned by the USAF. Any informal names should not be listed, as these are just crew nicknames, and will change as crews change.
We could restore the chart, use FAS as the source, but include a {{verify source}} tag to show that further verification is needed. Would this be acceptable? - BillCJ 23:57, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Seems like a reasonable plan to me. -Fnlayson 00:42, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Sounds good to me. FAS is pretty good about their fact checking. --Chuck Sirloin 04:20, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, since that's most of us, and BQZip seemed in favor of it, I'm re-adding it with the source and tag. - BillCJ 04:32, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

governor quote

it is true, it's taken from a children's book called Flight by Richard Platt published by DK. the isbn is 1-4053-0834-6. why dont you think it adds anything? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 19:54, 11 April 2007 (UTC).

and i just googled the quote and came up with and there are others —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).

  • It does not belong in the lead in any event. It already says the plane costs over $1.157 billion. That quote does not add anything to that fact. -Fnlayson 20:29, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) First off, is hardly a verifiable source since it does not list a source for the quote. Second, the quote itself is not true, its like $870 an ounce which is not 3 times the cost of gold. Plus, its just a sensationalist kind of quote meant to point out what a 'boondoggle' the stealth bomber is. Each one doesn't, as the article points out, actually cost $2.2bil, that is just the program cost when divided by the delivered number of frames. It includes MASSIVE development costs for the tech itself. --Chuck Sirloin 20:31, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

you say brainy quote isnt verifiable but i i got it from a book and the website kinda a remarkable that two identical quotes from the same guy were made up by some people who got bored. if that website isnt verifiable what is?? from two sources fucking A—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 18:05, 26 April 2007.

Tone 'er down there hotrod, why are you getting so 'worked up' about this? is not a verifiable source because it does not itself list any sources. Read WP:VER if you are having a hard time understanding the concept. If the children's book you found the quote in happened to have a bibliography that showed where quote came from then it would be verifiable as well, but I doubt that it does. AND in any case, it doesn't matter because it (as shown here in this discussion) is a stupid quote that doesn't add anything to the article. --Chuck Sirloin 23:13, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
    • About the cost: FYI, I've found that the best way to explain it to people who ask is "If they only made 21 Toyota Corollas, don't you think they'd run a few million dollars a pop, too?" --KNHaw (talk) 21:43, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

ok chill. sheesh people get so worked up on the net.

Dude, for those of us who built the damn thing, this is a long running sore point. If people want to hold a rational argument about costs and benefits of the program (i.e. how many elementary schools could have been financed in lieu of the B-2), that's cool. But it's gonna bug anyone when something they worked on for years is slandered with that kind of inaccurate quote. Wouldn't you be irritated if someone made an outrageous diss of your school/town/favorite team? ("Hey, you know that Kobe Bryant is paid three times his weight in gold a year while children in LA go hungry?")
Besides, talk pages are the places where we're supposed to "get so worked up" (*GRIN*) --KNHaw (talk) 21:43, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
If the B-2 were made of gold, I doubt it could fly. even if it could, it's range would be much shorter, and it'd be detectable by radar. Also, no manufacturer has any experience making gold airplanes, so there'd be a steep learning curve to make it. All that would probably mean the gold B-2s would actually cost a lot more than the real ones, esp since Congress wouldn't buy as many as 21 of a plane that hardly worked. The some governor would say, "Each Proposed B-2 Stealth bomber costs three times more than it would if every part of the plane were not made of gold." That's why we call it sensationalism: it sounds cute, but it's really meaningless nonsense. Remember, when a politician complains about how much money is spent on something, he doesn't mean the money should not have been spent. He just means it should have been spent on something else that he approves of! - BillCJ 23:03, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
BillCJ, you'd better watch any mention of the AAP (Auric Aircraft Project). I don't think anyone in this forum is cleared to know that Black helicopters are painted that way to conceal the fact that they're made of gold.
Wait... did I type that? Ooops...
--KNHaw (talk) 21:11, 12 April 2007 (UTC)


A B-2 Spirit dropping Mk.82 bombs in a 1994 training exercise off Pt. Mugu in the Pacific Ocean.

I came across this photograph of the B-2 bombing on the Live fire exercise article. I believe it would add to this article, but I do not know where to place it. I also feel that Image:20061027-6 v102706db-0153jpg-772v.jpg would be a good addition as it shows the scale of the B-2. Mehmet Karatay 07:02, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

I think all the poctures on this page should be featured. they are all just so spectacular --Chickenfeed9 16:52, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

  • I added that one. -Fnlayson 20:41, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

External Links

I corrected the second link (B-2 Spirit page on, which was outdated. Get Shorty 16:14, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

nm or nmi

Discussion moved to Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (dates and numbers). Lightmouse 19:16, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

I run a site titled Air Vectors that covers military aircraft and gets cited here and there on Wikipedia. I don't normally touch wikipedia articles other than to correct typos and the like, but I just found out about a site named "" which is also cited here and there on Wikipedia (for example in this article) ... but whose aviation articles are largely or entirely downloads of Air Vectors articles -- advertized as "original content & images" though they also lifted many of my photos and artwork.

I have no fuss to make. I just want to make sure the Wikipedia community knowns that is a ripoff operation. Cheers / MrG 02:52, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Three men in a boat

The article specifies the B2 has a crew of two. This is not exact, the plane can fly with a crew of three for long ferries or training or anti-desertion purposes (~ NKVD-ish political officer holding a gun to the pilots' heads), but the third guy has a simple non-ejecting flip-down seat, so it sould not go into combat tri-manned. 19:35, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

  • It doesn't matter if extra crew people can fly in it. Two is the minimum needed. The B-1 has extra non-ejectable seats for trainers too. -Fnlayson 19:45, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
    • Besides, it is designed for a CREW of two. The AC-130 has a crew of 12 or 13 (depending on the model), but can hold additional personnel including parachutes (like 1 or 2 more). Their design is for a CREW of 12 or 13. BQZip01 talk 22:26, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

A pilot and Aircraft commander, no one wants to be called a co-pilot on a B2. There is a lot of space behind the 2 crew seats. There are only 2 blow off hatches in the roof to allow crew ejection. The large, empty rear deck of the crew compartment was put there in case it might be used for other things. There are tie down points. More than 2 have flown on B2 but it is not part of the Northrop design. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Saltysailor (talkcontribs) 19:32, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

I worked installing the 3rd ejection hatches on the B-2's. The 3rd seat area is built with ejection seat rails and the required hatch as a provision for the use of a 3rd seat. That's all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Perpetualjon (talkcontribs) 15:31, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Price Per Plane/"Procurement" costs

Just a question: Why the cost per plane range from 1,157 to 2,2 billion dollars? Does the price depend on something? It's a quite large difference (almost a billion), but what for?? --Eurocopter tigre 18:50, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

It's very difficult to figure out how much the US government spends on anything; it's even more difficult to figure out how much the Pentagon spends on anything; it's even more difficult to figure out the costs of highly complex projects like combat aircraft (where attributing things to "construction costs" and "operating costs" is extremely difficult); and it's even more difficult when the project starts out as a secret. --Robert Merkel 07:45, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Part of the confusion is there are different cost figures.

(1) Cost to manufacture the aircraft: Parts in, aircraft out. (2) Cost to design and manufacture the aircraft: research, design and test costs plus (1) above (3) Fly away costs: pilot and maintenance crew training, + spares, plus (2) above. (4) Life cycle cost: All salaries of everyone who works on the program + material costs, + (3)

Depending on how good or how bad you want the aircraft to look, you can honestly choose any of the above. Dishonest people compare the projected Life cycle cost for one aircraft to the cost to manufacture of another.

Keep in mind that research and development costs develop new technology, with can then be used on any other aircraft, or many other non-aircraft projects. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:55, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Without getting into classified or proprietary knowledge: 1. other projects were "hidden" in the B2 black budget by the Aif Force, making the total proceed hard to figure. 2. the cost of security both direct and from compartmentalization resulting in wasted effort were significant. 3. The cost of an additional unit if procured before the production was shut down was between $500 and $600 million. this is from my work on the B2 Saltysailor (talk) 19:38, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Sir, 500-600 million?? I demand strict proof thereof before accepting such a figure in this B class Wikipedia article. In fact, on this note, I've carefully reviewed the supporting reference for this claim from within the article: "By the early 1990s the United States elected to purchase just 21 of the bombers at US$737 million per aircraft....and find this figure a stretch, let me explain. I did find this in B-2 PROGRAM FISCAL YEAR'98 PRESIDENT'S BUDGET Appendix I - "Procurement program 'Air vehicle' $15,476.3 (in millions)" which is US$15,476,300,000 which is $773,815,000 per plane , or about $774 million per plane divided 20 ways, and $736,966,666 or about US$737 million per plane divided 21 ways. First of all, the Clinton administration didn't elect to convert the prototype model to full Block 30 status until 1996, which presents a different "cost" model to consider. In any event, if this figure of $737 million per plane seems like a paltry, misleading figure that flies in the face of everything you've heard about the astronomical costs of this aircraft, you might be on to something. That's because this lowball figure represents only part of the per unit "procurement costs" of this aircraft. There are $4,027,000, extra $4.03 billion in additional aspects of what constitutes "procurement" costs...which comes out to a whopping $191.8 million(US$191,800,000) per plane divided 21 ways (21 planes), which ain't nothin! I'd be remiss if I also didn't note that this figure excludes an additional $553.6 million (US$553,600,000) in total "military construction" costs which comes out to an extra 26.3 million (US$26,361,905) per plane. So let's "get real" here, it's more accurate to state the "procurement" costs as a minimum of $928.7 million per plane (US$928,766,666 to be exact).Critical Chris (talk) 00:24, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
If you had to buy only 21 Ford Focus cars, they'd cost hundreds of thousands of dollars each. That isn't a fair representation of the actual cost of a Ford Focus. The B-2 program expenditures were intended to pay for 137 aircraft, not 20 or 21. The issue with these 'after the fact' cost quotes are that they ignore the reality of the procurement system. If you stopped the B-52 program after 21 bombers had been built, you'd have some awfully expensive aircraft. That production on the B-52 continued is immaterial, the fact is that the cost of any aircraft procurement program when only 20 airframes have been completed is always going to be astronomical. That number meens very little. Your attempts to inflate the cost of the aircraft seem to stem from your desire to own this article and change it at your own whim, however I'm going to assume good will and continue to make points in the hopes that something might click. The fact is that the cost of the B-2 over a full production schedule would not have been significantly different from that of the B-1 and B-52 it was intended to replace/supplement. You can quote figures and fiddle with the numbers rolling in whatever figures you want but that does not make the B-2 special. --Nukes4Tots (talk) 01:01, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
"That number meens (sic) very little"...the average American taxpayer might beg to differ, and despite a Hughesian pipe dream, the actual costs of this project to the taxpayers are relevant to this aircraft...they killed the program's expansion in the 1990's, and a decent article on this plane needs to clearly lay those costs on the table here in this article for DOD and Congressional decision makers, and journalists, and a whole host of other types of academics and researchers to use in the future. I'm not attempting to "inflate the cost of the aircraft." The facts on costs are the facts, and need to be here in an un-filtered, un-spun format that doesn't hide costs, the way a $737 million dollar figure does. Do you defend the inclusion of that grossly innacurate figure ($737 million) in the article's infobox as a purportedly accurate "procurement" cost per plane? I've just now discovered this "mistake" and you bust-a-move with a troll routine? I don't own this article, and please mind your own edits. Don't you agree that this needed to be corrected at once?Critical Chris (talk) 02:04, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
What I disagreed with previously, and what we may have achieved some editorial consensus on, was the inclusion of what we've now discovered to be only part of the procurement costs in the infobox, where they appeared misleading as to the aircraft and program's total cost. I've since corrected that infobox with the correct procurement cost figure of $929 million per plane.Critical Chris (talk) 02:30, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
UserNukes4Tots16:09- does this sound familiar? Is this the editorial consensus to which you refer?...September 30, 2008 Nukes4Tots (Talk | contribs) (37,461 bytes) (Chris, it's CRITICAL that you acurately represent the the reference and what it says. You cannot quote $2.1B without the $737M reality check.)(undo)...Now that we've checked this "reality check," shouldn't we "keep it real" with the GAO's $929 million per plane "procurement" data as per the reference found here...( ) B-2 PROGRAM FISCAL YEAR 1998 PRESIDENT'S BUDGET, Appendix I...take a good look at the procurement costs. We don't tell damned lies and worse with statistics here on Wikipedia.Critical Chris (talk) 02:49, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
Please don't make this personal. If you look at the reference, it states that for 21 aircraft, the cost for airframes (appendix I) is $15,476.3M dollars. By my calculations, you divide that by 21 planes as noted in table 1.1, and you get $737M. You are making an error by rolling the following non-aircraft costs into the figure you're getting: Equipment, data/training, Interim contractor support, Spares, Retrofit, Other government costs, Software support, Mission support, Facilities. Well, hell, why don't you throw gas and aircrew costs into it while you're at it. You're wrong. Airframe costs were $737M no matter how that shatters your idea of a pork-barrel boondoggle. We're reading the same reference... I fail to see where 'mission support' is part of the cost of the airframe. --Nukes4Tots (talk) 04:04, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
The infobox uses the term: "procurement cost", which, yes, include those things such as "Mission support." You cannot divorce those expenses from the procurement cost matrix. In a similarly misleading context, The lead currently uses the term "purchase" ...the Congress didn't decide to purchase just the airframes -- they purchased/procured complete bombers with maintenance contractor support and tech support for the data/information/avionics systems, etc. No this doesn't include the research and development costs and construction costs of the climate-controlled hangars. I believe the question now becomes: is the airframe cost alone, versus the complete matrix of costs, notable enough to merit inclusion in the infobox and lead?Critical Chris (talk) 04:28, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
On the use of the term "flyaway cost" both in the article itself and in the edit summaries, let's shed some light on this topic and other military aircraft cost topics. Recommended reading: User:Askari Mark/Understanding aircraft unit costs. In the meantime, in the interests of intellectual rigor, it's time for some editing here. I fully intend to accurately describe data within this article as per the reference source. I'm sorry, but I just cannot accept, and will not accept, patently and inherently untrue statements that our United States Congress "elected to purchase" these planes "at $737 million per aircraft," nor will I accept untruthful items in the infobox that "$737 million" represents an "average procurement cost", when procurement include spare parts by definition! I will not stand by and let this article be held hostage by any editor that refuses to carefully review and acknowledge the data within a reference citation, or any editor that cannot properly read the budget appendix within the GAO report.(reference #3) One has to carefully read in "Appendix I" that "Procurement program" is merely a section title and is separate from "Air vehicle,"...but wait there's more...Such editors might want to also divide "procurement total" of $19.504 billion by 21 to arrive at a real average procurement cost per unit of $929 million per plane before untruthfully mislabeling the "$737 million" per plane "air vehicle" cost an "average procurement cost" in a prominently misleading position in the infobox.Critical Chris (talk) 06:38, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
The cost of $737M is per airframe. Again, you're trying to use the term "Procurement cost" so you can add all of your other non-airframe related costs into the tally and throw the numer as high as possible. The airframes did actually cost $737M and the GAO reference supports this. When you buy a car, what do you pay? You pay the sticker price, right? You don't pay for spares, a Garage, computer support, etc, you pay for the car. The operating costs of the car are important, right, but those costs aren't being hidden anywhere. In fact, they are boldly displayed in the $2.2B figure there. When the airframe costs $737M, why in the world would you want it cost $929M. Feel free to add your $929M per plane figure inbetween the airframe costs and total program costs, but NONE of what you're saying means that the Airframes actually cost more than $737M. You're LYING when you say otherwise and MISLEADING when you use the term "Procurement" so you can roll other baloon costs into the cost-per-airplane figure to fit whatever political agenda you're trying to push. Wikipedia is about FACTS and the FACT is that the Aircraft cost $737M and that's what we bought them for. --Nukes4Tots (talk) 13:42, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
I've explained this in better detail in the Program costs section with the total costs. Also added the total program cost to the infobox. I'll try to clarify where this is repeated in the Lead. -Fnlayson (talk) 14:05, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

  1. (cur) (last) 12:53, December 30, 2008 Nukes4Tots (Talk | contribs) (39,751 bytes) (This is BS. STOP hacking away at the aritcle while there is an active discussion going on on the talk page.) (undo)
Thanks for calling my stewardship of the article bullshit. I've been discussing my edits here all along. Have you been following this thread over the last few days as you keep reverting my edits as to procurement cost.Critical Chris (talk) 22:44, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
  1. 12:54, December 30, 2008 Nukes4Tots (Talk | contribs) (39,667 bytes) (Listen, this is tedious. The PROCUREMENT of the airframes cost the same whether it took place during the PROCUREMENT or DEVELOPMENT phase of the program. They PROCURED spares too.) (undo)
But to describe the $737 million airframe cost as the aircraft's "procurement cost" is inherently misleading because it doesn't take into account the elements of what comprises "procurement costs" such as spares and software support. Also we need to be clear that the total program cost listed at some 44 billion was "then year" or 1997 dollars.Critical Chris (talk) 22:44, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Chris, the least you can do is debate in good faith. I fixed your issue with "procurement" vs. "airframe" cost, however this is a shift in focus. This was petty on your part. Procurement, as it is discussed in the GAO article, is a phase of the overall program. Airframes are procured along with spares, infrastructure, and the other costs I listed. Really, I fail to see why you are against the $737M airframe cost being in the article. The airframes were procured. Airframe procurement costs were $737M each. Now that I clarified it to where even you could understand it, you delete the content again. I'm further not grasping why you are EDIT WARRING before there's a concensus here. That is certainly not helping your argument any and it's against guidelines. Keep the status quo until a concensus is reached. PLEASE Build a concesus in good faith. --Nukes4Tots (talk) 23:59, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
User:Nukes4Tots. Please read the following passage below from: User:Askari Mark/Understanding aircraft unit costs--Procurement cost-- This can be reported as either a "program cost" or a "unit procurement (or program) cost"; the unit procurement cost (UPC) adds the cost of initial spares — amortized over the quantity being purchased — to the flyaway cost. This is the other most commonly reported type of cost, and is usually derived from the reported procurement program cost divided by the quantity of aircraft being bought. There's no shift in focus away from what's reported here as "procurement cost." You need to go back through this thread if you have that mistaken impression. Do you now dare to defend the the inclusion of only one aspect of the project's procurement cost in a prominent position in the lead and infobox?Critical Chris (talk) 00:37, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
At what point did I say you couldn't add your content? I am, however, compeltely against you deleting the $737M figure or suppressing it to the text. Unit cost is unit cost. You can amortise all you want, but please don't appeal to authorities. I have no fucking clue who Askari Mark is, but unless he writes my paycheck or joins in the conversation, what you say he says is 100% immaterial to this discussion. Add whatever figures you want, but you are not going to get away with suppressing the properly referenced and wholly accurate airframe cost on my watch. Add the dozen figures and any amortization you want, but don't suppress. The $737M figure is the important one as is the $2.2B one. Tweak whatever fucking numbers you want inbetween to your heart's content but that won't help anybody's understanding of the article. (Note, my use of profanity is intended to emphasize points. I'm not calling anybody names, in fact, the term "fucking" is used to modify "clue" and "numbers" and I apologize to any of my clues of your amortized numbers I might have offended) --Nukes4Tots (talk) 01:16, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
So, I read that user's guide and I noted that you committed a sin of omission. Shame on you. If you're going to use these terms, better make sure you understand the whole picture: Flyaway cost: The basic flyaway cost (FAC) is the sum of the recurring and nonrecurring costs and is always reported as a "unit flyaway cost" (usually abbreviated "FAC" or, rarely, "UFAC"). It is the most commonly reported cost and is normally what most people think of when they think about what an airplane "costs." However, just to keep things from being simple, there is something called "total flyaway cost". Frankly, I think it's utterly confusing to discuss these terms that one has to look up on a friggin subpage to a user I'd never heard of. Let's bottom line it... how much did the airplanes cost? The straight answer is $737M. A critic would cite $2.2B and he'd be right as well. As I've said and your cute cost dictionary reiterated, you can call it whatever you want and come up with whatever figure you want, but the range of costs for a B-2 is $737M up to $2.2M based on this benchmark reference. Any other figures confuse the facts and confound logic. --Nukes4Tots (talk) 01:24, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
The average airframe cost is explained. It is much closer to the flyaway incremental cost than the average of the total cost ($2.1B). I can not find any flyaway costs for the B-2 on the AF budget page or on .mil sites however. Update: found data in another GAO report. Flyaway cost was approx. $1.1B through 15 aircraft in 1995.[14] -Fnlayson (talk) 19:09, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
The heart of the question is do we list the RANGE of costs from the basic airframe cost through the entire project cost or do we list EACH AND EVERY number inbetween from each year's amortised flyaway gobblygook cost? The range is roughly $.75B through $2.5B when you cook the numbers and throw out the 5% statistically insignificant figures at the low and high end of the bell curve. Give this range and don't confuse the subject. Reasonable low end and reasonable high end. That's it. --Nukes4Tots (talk) 20:08, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Yep, the $737M - $2.1B range covers the high and low. That's good enough, imo. -Fnlayson (talk) 20:13, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
"when you cook the numbers" Who's doing that? These numbers are all in the Congressional Record, and since when would DOD and Congressional staff, members of Congress, and Senators (the folks who represent the American taxpayers in Washington) consider true "procurement" costs to be marginal and "statistically insignificant?"Critical Chris (talk) 00:06, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Also, I might add those "statistically insignificant figures" ...if you're referring to other aspects of the "procurement cost" (air vehicle isn't the only aspect of that) "equipment, data, training, contractor support, software support, spare parts, retrofitting, etc"...if that's what you mean by "5% statistically insignificant figures at the low and high end of the bell curve"....I'd note that those add up to about US$4.03 BILLION total, or about 191.8 million per plane which comprises over 26% of the total procurement cost....a massive, substantive cost to taxpayers which is not "gobblygook," nor hardly "statistically insignificant" and over 500% greater than your attribution of 5%.Critical Chris (talk) 00:24, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

climate-controlled hangars?

Just wondering why the F-22 Raptor article mentions "climate-controlled hangars" for the B2 when the B2 article has no info on this. 21:42, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

Well, the claim is unreferenced in the first place. As for climate controlled hangars, there are quite a few which have some climate control (especially heating for the maintenance crews). Those that are not climate controlled are generally in the south where heating is not especially needed. That said, temperature (especially the cold) shouldn't be a major factor for an aircraft that cruises at 50,000 feet. Precipitation affects all airframes, especially ice and snow. I would assume the B-2 is just a little more succeptable to the climate and protecting a multibillion dollar piece of machinery is simply practical more than notable. BQZip01 talk 04:12, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
  • That sentence has a reference. Keeping them inside was related to their radar absorbing material coatings, at least older types. -Fnlayson 04:17, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Any aircraft needs a climate controlled hanger when it is being repainted. Your house can stand up to rain after the paint is dry, but you don't, if you are clever, paint while it is actively raining. Many paints and glues have limits of temperature and humidity which must be followed during the cure process, but no similar restriction is needed after the cure is complete. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:58, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

I read it is to maintain the integrity of the B2s "stealthy skins" and radar evading finish.Critical Chris (talk) 07:26, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Lead content

I moved about half of the Lead to Development. The procurement numbers and costs information is not repeated in the rest of the article. This is counter to the Lead being a summary. So I moved the info. I didn't see a better place for it. -Fnlayson 17:47, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

Looks fine, Jeff. We mainly objected to it being split into an "Overview" section, which I actually used to do when I first stated editing last year, till I learned better. - BillCJ 18:14, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Right. The lead was too long compared to everything else and the content was out of place. Looks like the Overview/summary sections for U.S. military aircraft comes from military pages originally, for whatever that's worth. -Fnlayson 18:24, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
Looks fine now. The article was and still is riddled with conspiracy theorist speculation, anti-war jibberish, and some flat-out inaccuracies. It's just a fairly normal plane with some really expensive crap smeared on the outside. It paved the way for stealth tecnologies we see now in the F-22 and F-35, though.--Asams10 01:39, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Rubbish. Its stealth capabilities are not limited to RAM on the outside. Its shape is characterized by "continuous curvature" which is certainly not typical for a fairly normal aircraft.B-2Admirer 09:48, 11 September 2007 (UTC)
  • Fairly normal, except it is one of the first operational flying wing aircraft, at least that I know of.. -Fnlayson 01:48, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
One of the first? The technology for Flying Wings is proven. In the 1930's and 1940's, a series of American planes culminated in the refined B-49 design. This was an excellent airplane in all respects save the engines. It was at the stage of low-rate initial production when it was cancelled for reasons unrelated to the soundness of the design. With modern fly-by-wire technology and flight computers, you could probably make a lead cigar fly. What I meant was that the structure is conventional in virtually every respect. There is no magic, in other words.--Asams10 03:27, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
  • Right, I understood what you meant about the airframe design. A few flying wing prototypes were tested successfully. But I'm not aware of one that was in regular service before. If there was one, let me know. The B-2 won't the last.. -Fnlayson 04:01, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

Part of the problem with the original flying wing was the large and highly classified shape of the nuclear bombs of that day. The second bomb was called "Fat Man", and it was truely a large and ungainly shape. It may seem odd, but the B-35, and its follow-on B-49 were not told of the highly classified size of the bombs until it was too late. The B-36, by contrast, was designed for a massive 42,000 pound conventional weapon (one prototype stands proudly before the Aberdeen Proving Grounds Museum), and so, by good luck, was large enough for first generation nuclear bombs. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:06, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Stealth generations

This briefing by Maj. Gen. Bruce Carlson, USAF calls the SR-71 - 1st generation, F-117 - 2nd generation, B-2 - 3rd generation and F-22 - 4th generation. The F-35 would be 4th gen too and the B-1B would be 1st gen I think. Adding this as a reference should prevent back and forth editing on the matter, I think. -Fnlayson 03:51, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

I concur, with some revisions. Pinning stealth technology down to a generation is a bit odd, it seems. The F-117 was not the first of the purpose-built stealth aircraft, that goes to Have Blue IIRC. Neither was really a first-generation stealth aircraft, though, that goes to several flying wing designs of the 40's namely the YB-49 and Horten Ho 229. While it is arguable that these INTENTIONALLY incorporated any stealth technology, it's sure they had stealth characteristics. The SR-71 did, in fact, have intentionaly stealth technology. The B-1B was the first real stealth design to go into production and regular service though it wasn't a pure stealth Aircraft. (yeah, the F-117, but in service it was still largely an experimental aircraft with huge maintenance requirements).
It might be more correct to categorize stealth technologies by the technologies themselves. Hmmm, off the top of my head there are:
  1. External structures such as elimination of right angles, sharks-tooth panels, etc.
  2. Internal structures such as radar absorbing ribs
  3. Structural components such as plywood and glues, composites, etc.
  4. Coatings such as RAM either on targeted areas like intake lips and leading edges
  5. Whole design concepts such as faceted surfaces, flying wings, etc.
  6. Internal design elements such as intake screens, serpentine intakes, etc.
  7. Infrared techniques like flatening exhaust, mixing with bypass air, coatings, hiding exhaust with tailplanes, etc.
Combined, these technologies can be broken down to an annoyingly complicated list of features and generations/sub-generations of said features as to be completely useless and pretentious. I'd say it's nice to look at these things on paper and babble on about how clever we were to break everything down to generations and confuse everybody. Suffice it to say that as each new stealth aircraft has come on line since the F-117, stealth has gotten progressively less maintenance intensive and more effective. Me? I'd break it down into seven generations just to be a pest. 1st gen would include the B-49 and Horten, 2nd the SR-71, 3rd the B-1B, 4th the F-117, 5th the B-2, 6th the F-22 (or maybe it's gen 4/5) and YF-23(yeah, perhaps 5/6 gen). The F-35 is definitely 7th generation though IMNTBHO. --Asams10 11:58, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
  • Not trying to pigeonhole them into generations is fair. Not much value added with that. -Fnlayson 14:09, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
Concur with latest comment by Fnlayson. — BQZip01 — talk 18:23, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
Is there a stealth aircraft article? If so, we should include the Mosquito, an all-wood aircraft in WWII designed to elude German radar. — BQZip01 — talk 18:23, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
Well, technically, the Mosquito would fall into the same class as the Horten and YB-49 - stealth by happenstance. The Mosquito was designed with wood because of an expected materials shortage of metals used in the aircraft industry. If memory serves, the first aircraft design that intentionally incorporated stealth features for the purpose of stealth was the A-12 / YF-12 / A-11 / SR-71 series. --Asams10 18:36, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Generations of stealth is a POV issue and is matter of accepted definition. For me the 1st generation with the WWI palne with clear skin instead of canvas. Flying wings are stealthy by nature of shape. Lockheed devleoped RAM for the SR71. The F117 was developed on Lockheed's concept of the "impossible diamond", a shape that would reflect radar away but would not fly. The B2 used finite analysis to determine reflection and thus create shapes that were aerodynamic as well as stealthy. There are methods on the B2 for stealth that are still classified. Of course methods for defeating stealth are known, and the F22 is not as stealthy as the B2 because it is not as important to pay the cost for it. Even the current FA-18 has some stealth built in, that was not part of the original model. Saltysailor (talk) 19:51, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Total Payload

What's the maximum Payload of this beauty? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

  • Over 40,000 lb. I have a couple sources that state 50,000 lb max. I updated that in the specs. -Fnlayson 05:34, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

thats the official payload, it can lift lots more Saltysailor (talk) 19:52, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Probably no. It has relatively weak engines (4 engines of the kind found in the first-gen F-18, without reheat) and its thrust/weight ratio is so low, some even doubt it can get airborne on that alone. In fact those engines are air inlet deprived, even when the extra cat-ear openings pop out during take-off, so the engines cannot give their maximum rated thrust. Unless the B-2 has some extra, secret propulsion augmentation (MHD drive has been alleged) it is not possible to put very large bombload in it to excel the B-52's huge capacity. (talk) 08:23, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
???WTF??? This IP seems not to have a clue what he's talking about. Is this a troll? The B-52, first off, could not take off with its maximum bomb load and maximum fuel load. Missions that needed maximum bomb load and fuel would take off with a smaller fuel load and top-off in flight. The B-2 was designed to carry all fuel and bombs internally, however still has the option of topping off in flight, refueling, etc. Bomb loads have empty space and bomb racks take up space and weight. Efficient loads such as cruise missile launchers, are the B-2's strength. Its engines are plenty powerful. They are based on the B-1's F-101/F-110/F-118engine core, not that of the F-18. I'll hesitate to call you retarded, but just because the number 18 is in the engine designation, that doesn't make it an F-18 engine. MHD? Are you serious? --'''I am Asamuel''' (talk) 12:57, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
  • It's the F-117 that uses a non-afterburning version of the F/A-18's engine (F404). -Fnlayson (talk) 13:04, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
factors which make possible lifting capability very high:
  • very clean aerodynamics limiting drag penalty of conventional aircraft
  • wing has high camber for efficient sub-sonic flight
  • while the engines are "buried" to reduce observability, a great deal of money was spent making sure the penalty of ducting did not adversely effect the engine performance. During the design of the aircraft Northrop hired specialists with experience in ducting engines. While the initial designs proposed by the stealth crew would have starved the engines for air, the final compromise works very well. Saltysailor (talk) 02:03, 7 June 2008 (UTC)


And which wone crashed 23.2.2008?--Pilots safe after stealth bomber crashes in Guam --Stone (talk) 11:11, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

And what's that about a bomber being lost over Bosnia? There's no record that anywhere, except some strange Russian web-news article with no sources whatsoever.

  • They may be attempting to refer to the F-117 that was shot down over the war in Bosnia, theres more about it on the wiki F-117 Page --Daishi808 (talk) 17:38, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
No, the enemy claimed they had shot down a B-2 Stealth Bomber and some conspiracy Theorists latched onto it. No B-2 was shot down... we'd have known about it, I'm sure. Yes, an F-117 was lost over Bosnia and that might have been a source of confusion, but it wasn't a B-2. --Asams10 (talk) 17:48, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Asams10, you must be mistaken! Everyone knows that the "enemy" never lies, and that anything the US government says is always unreliable. If you doubt me, just read the New York Times! ;) - BillCJ (talk) 18:29, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Zoltan Dani, the commander of the unit which shot down F-117 and at least one F-16 reported that they shot down B-2, which crashed in Spacvanska forrest in Croatia, about 15 km beyond Yugoslavian border. Ilustrovana Politika reported the incident as well. The name of the aircraft was 'Spirit of Missouri', possible number AV-8 88-0329. The commander reiterates the fact in a rescent interview for serbian Vecernje Novosti news agency. They cannot prove it because the airplane crashed in a foreign country and was thus quickly cleaned up, unlike the F-16 and F-117 which were shot down over Serbia. This unit has an excellent reputation, and i do not believe they would lie about such a topic. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:02, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
  • The General John Corley sentences were added with an Aviation Week article as a reference (ref. 21). -Fnlayson (talk) 13:27, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
  • I remember one of the programmers for the flight control system being very proud of the fact that the B2 would prevent a pilot from crashing the plan by taking control from him and taking appropriate actions. The pilot could select the flight mode, and there is one for take off. Looks like the programmers didnt anticipate bad data input. Saltysailor (talk) 03:53, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Where was it developed and manufactured?

seems like relevant information Dan Frederiksen (talk) 14:08, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

As you would probably expect, Dan, that's a complex question. Much of the engineering and some manufacturing was done at the dedicated (now closed) Pico Rivera facility that had previously been a Ford manufacturing plant (I went there for an open house in 1978 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the model T years before I worked for N-G myself). I'm not positive, but I believe that the heavy manufacturing was done at Lancaster IIRC Palmdale. The various subsystems were manufactured in almost every state in the U.S., a point that was emphasized by N-G public relations when the program was in political trouble back in the 90's. I do not know where the initial design work was done (since Northrop didn't own the Pico site at the time) but most likely it was in El Segundo, since that was were the bulk of the work force was at the time.
On another note, how much depth do you think should be addressed on this topic, Dan? A sentence or two might be appropriate but past that really seems like gold plating to me.
--KNHaw (talk) 22:08, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Pico Rivera as in Los Angeles?
I'm not sure what you mean by gold plating but to me that's the only interesting aspect of this otherwise uninteresting craft. how secrecy works. I am interested because I am aware of how much evil is in this world and that it only thrives in darkness. the same darkness the development of the B2 was cloaked by. if the information is good and not trivial you couldn't write enough about it here. where, when, by whom, who knew, why, and what does it actually cost to build it. nothing costs 550m$ to make let alone 2bn. there is a difference between what we are told and what is true. Dan Frederiksen (talk) 00:30, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes, Pico Rivera outside LA. I worked there in the early 90's and added a blurb to the Pico Rivera article and will soon link it back in.
As to your comments about the costs and possible sinister origins/mission of the craft, I hate to disappoint you but the most sinister thing about the B-2's development was the fact that the company store charged way too much when I tried to buy a car stereo there in '92. People outside the industry have trouble understanding that things in aerospace can indeed cost ungodly amounts of money. This happens when the manufacturer is hit with a perfect storm of creeping technology (the cell phone on your hip has 100x more computing power than every computer on an originally configured B-2 because of Moores Law), a changing world environment (the end of the Cold War), and just simple bad luck. There were originally going to be 132 planes and Northrop went very deeply into hock to build the program. When you take the cost of two dedicated factories (Pico and Palmdale), all those workers (13,000 at Pico only), and subcontracts to companies throughout the nation for all the hydraulics/avionics/fuel systems/engines/sensors/etc. and spread them out over just 21 planes instead of 132 (or hundreds, which is what Northrop had originally dreamed of), you wind up with a whopping price per plane.
Remember that building the B-2 was the aerospace equivalent of building the pyramids. The Air Force passed on dozens or hundreds of other projects to put all their budgetary eggs in one basket for a decade and a half. Nearly twenty years after I started there I still run into ex employees who worked on it all the time.
I know that the fact that B-2 looks sexy and sinister and uses once exotic composite technology lends itself to all sorts of speculation about its purpose. The truth is that its mission is a simple, almost old fashioned one: to deliver bombs to people halfway across the world who don't want to have bombs dropped on them. The B-2 doesn't need an alien death ray or warp drive or antigravity engines - just the ability to get over a target, open the bay doors, and let gravity complete the delivery of several tons of high explosives. This is, however, a Hell of a lot more complex that it appears (One of a few hundred thousand issues: You know what happens if you drop an object into an airstream and you haven't done the math right? It loops back up and punches clean through a wing. Very rough on both the bomb and the plane) and that's why it takes so many people to do it. B-2 does its job in a very reliable manner thanks to the work of thousands of people working all over the U.S. to support hundreds of Air Force personnel all over the world.
You are right in that there are ethical issues at play here. You may question spending large amounts of taxpayer dollars for complex systems where some might think it better spent elsewhere. You can (and any moral person does) question the use of any weapon against your fellow man. In the end, though, there is no inherent darkness or sinister purpose to the B-2, the F-117, or any other weapon. They are simply tools, tools that (frankly) most of the people who built them would prefer never need to be used.
Apologies about getting on my soapbox, Dan, but the real world is at once a lot more confusing, complex, boring, and fascinating than what conspiracy theories would have you believe. Take care and keep asking questions. --KNHaw (talk) 18:14, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Maybe edit your post for concision. the B2 was not like the pyramids. it's a slow flying wing made of plastic. and all military is inherently evil. if the B2 was their sole product developed in LA of all places, what is being done at the groom lake facility? for 50 years. Dan Frederiksen (talk) 18:39, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
The Pico Rivera site is now a huge strip mall. It was located at the corner of Washington Blvd and Rosemead Blvd. The only clue that this place was once the B-2 Division facility is a small street named "Stealth Parkway" behind the stores. Google Maps "Washington Blvd and Rosemead Blvd, Pico Rivera, CA" to see the entire former site defined by Washington Blvd, Paramount Blvd, Rosemead Blvd and the railroad tracks. I used to park in the back, past Rex Road; it took me 15 minutes to get to my desk (!). The facility had a "front lawn" at that corner that, along with the access roads, parking lot and the landscaping formed a B-2 in plan view from the air, with the "Northrop" out at the point of the corner substituting for the windscreen. Whether it was by chance or design no one I knew there knew.Alanz01 (talk) 22:27, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
Wow, I haven't heard of this research. Sounds like someone was trying to set up a easily "self-destructable" facility for a harried "colonel"...streaking down on the facility like an eagle in his fighter jet during a time of war and terror, lest "the enemy" seize control of the facility's blueprint room. Good research materials for the article to include this aspect might include reference citations as per WP:NOR, historic USGS/NRO satellite photos, zoning and land use patterns surrounding the much housing surrounded the facility, or was the land zoned industrial? Was the development team aware of potential residential land use surrounding the facility that might need to be bombed one day? Years and years from now, this information might be declassified.Critical Chris (talk) 19:58, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Critical Chris, I'm assuming you're just being sarcastic for sarcasm's sake. If Alanz01 wants to stick that tidbit about the outline in the article, he would indeed need to cite some research. As far as just tossing it out here in the talk page, cut him a little slack. Talk pages are the place where tidbits like that are kicked around and research/citations are found.
Personally, I wonder if he's right. My memory of the big lawn tells me that such a layout might be right, but I thought that landscaping was done before it was the B-2 Division, back when it was still "Advanced Systems" and the B-2 was black world. Given that the mere outline of the B-2 was classified at one point, I can't imagine them landscaping something that obvious. Since I came in in Aug 1990 just after the B-2's first flight (after it had left black world and there would have been no problem with the outline) it could be that the landscaping went in right before I showed up. That would be the only way I could imagine them allowing something like that. If there is something citable about the outline, though, I think it'd be a great addition to the article.
As to the other points, the area was zoned industrial (it was originally the Ford plant) but there were residences and apartment complexes on the borders of the site. As far as being bombed, pretty much every square mile of Southern California was evenly targeted with Soviet nukes during the Cold War because of its status as a population and industrial center. There were no precision strikes and any attack on U.S. soil was going to be a full nuclear war - living next to the B-2 or thirty miles away was irrelevant. If your allusion is supposed to imply the US nuking its own plant, you need to drink a glass of warm milk and go take a nap - if a foreign army were invading Southern California (as opposed to nuking it), things would pretty much be so far gone that there wouldn't be any industrial base left to build the damn things anywhere in the world any more.
--KNHaw (talk) 21:23, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
No, I'm not trying to be a troll. I'm being dead serious about the building being designed "for maximum operational flexibility" i.e. ready destruction in a time of war. Yes it could be a tactic of a total war very much similar to the way Richmond was burned upon its fall in April, 1865. Another theory explaining the layout of the building and grounds into the shape of the plane is that it could be used by an intelligence agency and operatives to find the building on a map in the absence of a specific street address.Critical Chris (talk) 00:45, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Ok. First, my apologies to Critical Chris for throwing out the T-word. It was out of line. I'll be more civil.
As far as total war, personally I never saw any specific plan in place for disposing of all our classified data, but Chris has a good point. There probably was some sort of contingency somewhere in the place for burn barelling everything we had (perhaps as part of a standard "shutting down the site" plan). As to whether or not it would have worked in a crisis situation, I'm pretty doubtful. Military installations and civilian ones have different attitudes towards that sort of thing and if a Soviet invasion fleet were landing at Long Beach, I really doubt many of my coworkers would have reported to work for the orderly destruction of their data. Every military base, though, has plans in place for base overruns, sieges, etc.
Those are general principles, though. As far as aerial bombardment or the landscaping being designed with that in mind I'm doubtful. As a corporation, Northrop was immensely proud of the B-2, putting it on our letterhead and even our credit union's Mastercards. Most likely it was just a simple morale oriented "gosh, that would be cool to lay out the landscaping like that!"
Also recall that there was a huge amount of classified B-2 and non B-2 work done at other facilities throughout the southland (the radar in Hughes Fullerton, etc). To bomb dozens (B-2) or hundreds (non B-2) of sites based on landscaping would have been impractical (as would be to ask hundreds of companies to model their landscaping after a rival's product). Finally, remember that the Pico building itself was retrofitted from the old Ford plant. While some guy somewhere in the bowels of the Pentagon might have calculated how many bomb loads it would have taken to blast the site, the building itself was absolutely not designed with that in mind.
Of course, all this is kind of moot unless someone digs up an old photo or cite indicating that the landscaping actually had a distinctive pattern. We still haven't shown that at all.
--KNHaw (talk) 17:46, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

John Cashen is given a lot of the credit for developing the B2 and the wale. Most of Northrop's production was at Pico Rivera, where I worked, and that is where the giant kilns that cured the composite material were. Boeing built most of the wing structure up in Washington State. The wing sections were one piece and required a midget to inspect the interior after manufacture:-) I met a guy who worked at the plant that made the windows at that was someplace in Southern California. The assembly was at the Air Force Plant in Palmdale. The Air Force was concerned that Northrop had not done anything as complex as the B2 and forced Northrop to create a separate B2 Division. Many employees were former B1 employees. Northrop also had other locations for testing in Southern California, but I only know they existed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Saltysailor (talkcontribs) 20:02, 11 April 2008 (UTC)