There is no denying that the U.S. Air Force’s B-2 Spirit bomber – the nation’s only stealth bomber in service today – can do things other aircraft simply can’t do. It has the ability to fly 6,000 nautical miles without refueling, travel at high subsonic speeds, and essentially reach any part of the world within hours. This is why during the opening stages of Operation Enduring Freedom it was called upon to deliver a mighty punch to Taliban forces in Afghanistan.
Since its introduction in 1997, the Northrop Grumman B-2 has often been the first to fight. It was designed to penetrate anti-aircraft defenses and can deploy both conventional and thermonuclear weapons. It is also the only acknowledged aircraft that can carry large air-to-surface standoff weapons in a stealth configuration.
The B-2 can carry up to sixteen B-61 or megaton-yield B-83 nuclear gravity bombs on the rotary launchers inside its two bomb bays. The aircraft’s avionics are even hardened versus the electromagnetic pulses generated by nuclear blasts.
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