Through its shape, military capabilities, and performance, the B-2 Spirit is an airplane like no other. It is also a very discreet presence, oftentimes not seen by detection hardware and the naked eye. This is why every time it appears, it’s bound to cause some type of reaction.
The reaction we had as we set eyes on this here pic (click main photo to enlarge) was however not the one the Air Force (USAF) probably had in mind when it released it not long ago. Instead of being impressed by it, we’re mildly amused, as these very flat things look nothing like the killer machines they’re supposed to be, at least from eye level, and appear more like some flat pancakes spread across a plate.
The image shows no less than three B-2 Spirits (these things come out in packs on very rare occasions) on the tarmac of the Keflavik Air Base in Iceland at the end of August. They’re deployed with Team Whiteman out of the Air Force base with the same name in Missouri, and they were out on their first Bomber Task Force Europe deployment.
According to the USAF, the bombers’ presence in the “Arctic region allows the world’s only stealth bomber fleet to be ready for any mission, anywhere in the world at any time.”
Technically, this airplane doesn’t need to be all that close to its targets. The Northrop Grumman machine can fly thanks to its tanks and the four General Electric engines that power it for distances of up to 6,900 miles (11,000 km), at speeds that can reach 630 mph (1,010 kph).
It can sneak up on its target undetected, being stealth and all, and drop all sorts of weapons, including, if need be, nuclear ones. Luckily, in all the conflicts it was involved in since its introduction in 1997, it did not need to do that.