Whether you like it or not, the B-2 bomber is probably the only stealth bomber that will stay that way for a long, long time.
Even though we’re seeing plenty of stealth technology being implemented, the sheer scale and size of the B-2 is overwhelming. It has the capacity to carry close to 40,000 lbs of ordnance. This includes the B61 and B83 nuclear bombs; the AGM-129 ACM cruise missile was also intended for use on the B-2 platform. Some people may argue that newer Russian bomber designs will have similar capabilities, I wouldn’t agree. Not for the fact that Russian bombers wont be able to provide the same (or greater) amount of stealth or carry the similar ordnance packages, the deployment of stand-off weapons like cruise missiles is what Russian air-force is putting a big emphasis on these days.
The B-2 is capable of all-altitude attack missions up to 50,000 feet (15,000 m), with a range of more than 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km) on internal fuel and over 10,000 nautical miles (19,000 km) with one midair refueling. The last part is the main theme of this video, ensuring the public stays rather profoundly interested in these air-planes, somebody at U.S. DoD released a rather interesting showcase of the bomber’s capabilities.
As stealth is the main aspect of this airplanes, the retractable fuel cover that seemingly vanishes into pin-point precision alignment with the rest of the bomber’s exterior skin is simply staggering. It seems like the bomber is alive and the part once open to receive a bunch of fuel – simply joins with its exterior shell almost without a single line being seen. To see how this thing works, please take a look at the video shown below.
Images: First B-2 Image by U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III, second B-2 image by USAF