The B-2 Spirit is a multi-role bomber capable of delivering both
conventional and nuclear munitions. Its low-observable, or
"stealth," characteristics give it the unique ability to penetrate
an enemy's most sophisticated defenses and threaten its most valued,
and heavily defended, targets. Its capability to penetrate air
defenses and threaten effective retaliation provide a strong,
effective deterrent and combat force well into the 21st century. A
dramatic leap forward in technology, the bomber represents a major
milestone in the U.S. bomber modernization program. The B-2 brings
massive firepower to bear, in a short time, anywhere on the globe
through previously impenetrable defenses. Along with the B-52 and
B-1B, the B-2 provides the penetrating flexibility and effectiveness
inherent in manned bombers.
The first B-2 was publicly displayed on Nov. 22, 1988, when it
was rolled out of its hangar at Air Force Plant 42, Palmdale, Calif.
Its first flight was July 17, 1989. The B-2 Combined Test
Force, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.,
is responsible for flight testing the engineering, manufacturing and
development aircraft as they are produced.
There are only 13 B-2s and they are assigned to
the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, Mo. Each is named after a
state. The first aircraft, Spirit of Missouri, was delivered
Dec. 17, 1993. Depot maintenance responsibility for the B-2 is
performed by Air Force contractor support and is managed at the
Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker AFB, Okla.