On this day in 1989 the B-2 Spirit had its first flight.
The B-2 Spirit is a strategic bomber that features low-observable stealth technology. It is able to to carry up to eighty 500lb conventional JDAM GPS-guided bombs or sixteen B83 nuclear bombs.
Along with the F-117 Nighthawk, the B-2 was among the first generation of stealth aircraft. Initial plans to purchase 132 B-2’s were cut to just 21 during the 80’s and 90’s and, with the destruction of a B-2 that crashed after takeoff in 2008, 20 remain in service with the United States Airforce, who plans to operate the B-2 until at least 2058.
The B-2 first saw combat in 1999 during the Kosovo War and has been used in both the Iraqi and Afgahistan wars. It has an unrefueled range of 6000 nautical miles and can fly 10,000 nautical miles with one midair refueling.