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Northrop Grumman B-2A Spirit

elmayerle

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*soft chuckle* Ah, I know that aircraft intimately, very intimately. There's nothing like being at the plant at midnight supporting the shop folk who are installing your design. ;)
 

flateric

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Kind of nostalgy, Paul. You must understand that aerospace buffs here had much less either zero access to western press in soviet times. I was 14 y.o. then, and all published in our press was murky b/w photos with next bunch of phrases of 'imperialists forces', 'Pentagon hawks' etc. Even John Patierno death of cancer was somehow badly connected to B-2 to make whole picture more dramatic. Of course, Thomas W.Jones games with Pentagon budget and $2500-a-piece hammers were described as well...
 

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In any case, the work went forward, and the first "B-2" prototype, "Air Vehicle One (AV-1)", was rolled out at the Northrop plant in Palmdale, California, on 22 November 1988. The rollout was public, but observers were restricted to stands that kept them well away from the aircraft and limited their view of it to the front. Although the F-117 had been kept secret for years after its first flight, its test flights had been restricted to night, and that wasn't regarded as acceptable for the B-2. Since it would have been quickly spotted during daylight flights there was no sense it keeping it a complete secret, and nobody tried.

However, the security restrictions at the rollout weren't completely "airtight", in a highly literal sense of the word. Michael A. Dornheim, a reporter from AVIATION WEEK magazine, flew a light aircraft over the B-2 and had a photographer take pictures, obtaining one of the magazine's biggest scoops of all time, and justifying its nickname of AVIATION LEAK. It was all perfectly legal.

Source: http://www.vectorsite.net/avb2.html
 

Dilbert

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Has anyone heard the story that during the 1999 action over Kosovo, British warships were able to track B-2s on radar, and this prompted the whole, "we need to protect the RAM coatings from weather" rigamarole? I didn't follow that very closely and would like to be able to cite a source, if anyone has one.
 

elmayerle

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Lets just say that there's a protrusion on the upper starboard side of AV1 during its first flight that's received a fair bit of speculation. The truth is so prosaic and mundane as to be boring. I will say that it's flight-test-only hardware, mandated by the Customer, that was removed during the conversion/rework/update of AV1 to an operational airframe.
 

RP1

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>protrusion on the upper starboard side of AV1<

The frame-type thing near the tail? It looks like a towed RCS target - the cable is visible. Not that'd you'd be able to tell us if this is what you are referring to, I suppose.

RP1
 

flateric

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Nope. Stuff was to provide static air pressure data dor speed, altitude and other misc. calibration requirements to compare data from them and B-2 own flush airdata sensors.

I'd like to ask Evan if he can comment on these - on roll-out pics one can see that internal pattern of B-2 intakes are look quite different - was it result of hurry-up for roll-out date or just various RCS materials application for tests?
 

elmayerle

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RP1 said:
>protrusion on the upper starboard side of AV1<

The frame-type thing near the tail? It looks like a towed RCS target - the cable is visible. Not that'd you'd be able to tell us if this is what you are referring to, I suppose.
Actually, no. The protrusion in question is just outboard of the starboard engine bays in some pictures.
 

RP1

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Stuff was to provide static air pressure data dor speed, altitude and other misc. calibration requirements to compare data from them and B-2 own flush airdata sensors.
Well, you learn something new every day, thanks.

I am intrigued by the whatsit now. The Have Blue protoypes appear to have something similar on the underside forward, but the Photos in Millers book aren't clear enough. It looks fatter than the UHF antenna on the F-117.

RP1
 

flateric

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Mmm...kidda of radar reflector for forward/side sectors, I guess (much better radar deflector if form of towed calibration stuff support structure was on the tail)? Intake suction relief doors can play this role at low speeds, but not at high subsonic while CTF team still needed to track the AV. Just my guess...
Meanwhile, square white stencils on operational B-2 at this place at the right nacelle mirrors those at the left one with APU exaust triangle door.
 

elmayerle

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Yep, on all production aircraft, the starboard APU is in this location, more or less mirroring the port APU location and installation (but not exactly, and that did lead to a few problems 'tween designers and builders on AV1 - I ended up in the middle of that one and was able to help resolve it expeditiously). On this aircraft, and AV2, there was something else there for flight test concerns. No, it's not a reflector, though the plate there is planform-aligned and shaped to keep its contribution to the overall signature minimal when not deployed.
 

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It looks like a retractable IRCM like you see on Helo's. Other than that, I haven't a clue.
 

elmayerle

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Well, yes, it is retractible/extendable but it's not an IRCM, it's strictly flight test gear. If you look closely at the first picture, with it deployed, you'll notice it's essentially two pipes coming up to that conformal plate. Considering that these two aircraft were exploring the envelope boundaries, do I hear any thoughts on what those pipes might be?
 

flateric

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Hmm...camera? Kind of flow meter/laminar flow sensor(s)? Double cup holder with Starbucks Frappuccino®?
 

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Double cup holder with Starbucks Frappuccino®
LOL!

Yes, I would agree that perhaps they're measuring the boundary layer depth and/or there to determine boundary layer separation with alpha.

Of course, they could also be smoke generators to visualize the flow over the wing for the same purposes mentioned above, e.g. measuring the boundary layer separation.

I was also wondering if maybe they were there to look for measuring airflow near the inlet?
 

flateric

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Should we cheat and ask Irv Waaland? LOL... In fact, I'm off the versions...inlet aerodynamics was the whole story, but then any kind of flow sensor should logically be installed along the flowpath from the forward edge to intake...
 

elmayerle

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Actually, the answer is, as I said, rather pedestrian. The Customer was rather concerned that our analysts hadn't gotten things quite right concerning inlet airflow and that the higher AoA's would see stalled inlets and dead engines, normally meaning a lost aircraft given the nature of the controls. Those pipes are exhaust pipes for two hydrazine-driven emergency power units (straight out of USAF stock) installed in place of the RH APU. They were only supposed to be extended as they pushed to higher AoAs but were out on the first flight "just in case". To the best of my knowledge, they were never needed and the analysis and predictions of inlet flow were either accurate or conservative. Hydrazine tankage was placed on a pallet in an empty bay on the RH side of the aircraft while the equivalent bay on the LH side of the aircraft contained a pallet with several large batteries to ensure there was adequate electrical power throughout the restart effort.
 

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Now <i>that</i> I never would have figured out.
 

elmayerle

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Sentinel Chicken said:
So it's NOT the filler cap for the tank where the chemtrail liquid is stored?:D
Nope; if nothing else, it's in the wrong location for that. 'Sides, those were to be tightly sealing quick disconnects but that system was never installed.
 

flateric

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A masterpiece - 121 page document related to the very important subject - is it worth or no to use new seat cushion for B-2 pilots ACES II seat? http://stinet.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=A339408&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf

http://stinet.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=A312311&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf
Boring title "Technical Publication Transfer Using: Northrop Corporation's Data MIL-D-28OOOA (IGES), MIL-M-280O1A (SGML), MIL-R-28OO2A (Raster), MIL-D-280O3 (CGM) Quick Short Test Report." has some interesting B-2 drawings there.

Careful reading of the *text* will make you smile for a while...
 

Skybolt

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Thanks Gregory !
 

flateric

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For youngsters - that's how it was in 1988...

http://youtube.com/watch?v=tAw9p-vzj4Y
 

F-14D

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flateric said:
Kind of nostalgy, Paul. You must understand that aerospace buffs here had much less either zero access to western press in soviet times. I was 14 y.o. then, and all published in our press was murky b/w photos with next bunch of phrases of 'imperialists forces', 'Pentagon hawks' etc. Even John Patierno death of cancer was somehow badly connected to B-2 to make whole picture more dramatic. Of course, Thomas W.Jones games with Pentagon budget and $2500-a-piece hammers were described as well...
Back in those days many at Northrop were still kind of independent thinking and innovative (two qualities not necessarily endearing to those inside the Beltway mavericks. There are stories that Northrop kind of tweaked USAF here a bit. If you look at the star (which reportedly had been laid out quite some time prior to the official rollout when the configuration of the B-2 was supposed to be revealed), you'll see what I mean.
 

F-14D

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Matej said:
In any case, the work went forward, and the first "B-2" prototype, "Air Vehicle One (AV-1)", was rolled out at the Northrop plant in Palmdale, California, on 22 November 1988. The rollout was public, but observers were restricted to stands that kept them well away from the aircraft and limited their view of it to the front. Although the F-117 had been kept secret for years after its first flight, its test flights had been restricted to night, and that wasn't regarded as acceptable for the B-2. Since it would have been quickly spotted during daylight flights there was no sense it keeping it a complete secret, and nobody tried.

However, the security restrictions at the rollout weren't completely "airtight", in a highly literal sense of the word. Michael A. Dornheim, a reporter from AVIATION WEEK magazine, flew a light aircraft over the B-2 and had a photographer take pictures, obtaining one of the magazine's biggest scoops of all time, and justifying its nickname of AVIATION LEAK. It was all perfectly legal.

Source: http://www.vectorsite.net/avb2.html
On the other hand, not completely legal and a sad example of why General Aviation has a tendency to shoot itself in the foot, as the B-2 was about to take the runway for its first flight, a light aircraft, looking for a completely different airfield landed on the runway in front of it. Needless to say, the occupants found themselves quickly "greeted" by many stern-faced fellows carrying large personal weapons.
 

flateric

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F-14D said:
If you look at the star (which reportedly had been laid out quite some time prior to the official rollout when the configuration of the B-2 was supposed to be revealed), you'll see what I mean.
Actually, B-2 distinctive shape was revealed well prior November roll-out, on April 20, 1988 - when USAF released ATB artist's impression.
 

antigravite

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Hi all,

The photographer's name was William G. Hartenstein. The Cessna -172 was flown by Mike Dornheim, also an AWST editor

The entire overhead picture story is accounted here:

Bill Scott, Inside the Stealth Bomber: the B-2 story, Blue Ridge Summit, PA: Tab/Aero Books, 1991
Chapter 8 "Rollout", Section "Look-Down, Shoot-Down", pp.111-112
Another picture, different from those posted above, is also published.

Hope this helps.
 

flateric

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have this book, and bought AWST backissue with the original photos, but thanks anyway
 

F-14D

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flateric said:
F-14D said:
If you look at the star (which reportedly had been laid out quite some time prior to the official rollout when the configuration of the B-2 was supposed to be revealed), you'll see what I mean.
Actually, B-2 distinctive shape was revealed well prior November roll-out, on April 20, 1988 - when USAF released ATB artist's impression.
If I remember correctly (which is not a given), the general shape was revealed in doctored front quarter drawings , but the star shows the exact planform, especially the heretofore unknown trailing edge.
 

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The first image is shown here:

http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1988/1988%20-%201076.html

In fact it does show the planform quite well, but it doesn't show the nozzles. This was the thing they wanted to hide at the rollout...
 

flateric

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Somehow we have missed the date - first B-2, AV-1, was rolled out at the Northrop plant in Palmdale, California, on 22 November 1988, 20 years ago.

To mark the event, I'm posting nice Northrop artist's drawings, released shortly before and shortly after the roll-out event in 1988, including well-known first graphic impression ever published on B-2 that was released by USAF.
 

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Thanks for sharing :) I remember seeing that last pic and "Batplane!" was the first thing to come to mind :D
 

flateric

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAw9p-vzj4Y
 

flateric

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...so missing elmayerle here...Last Active: December 26, 2007... :-[
 

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DTI’s Bill Sweetman reports that during a 2008 bandwidth auction, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission inadvertently sold the operating frequency band of the B-2 bomber’s Raytheon AN/APQ-181 radar to an obscure firm headed by a Russian-educated citizen of Mali. Installing new radar arrays on the 20 surviving jets will reportedly cost “well over $1 billion.”
http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/Spectrum-Sequueze-to-KO-B-2-Bombers-Radar-05348/


Sometimes I think that some things are simply too absurd to happen. But then they eventually happen....
 

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And it seems that its not all :eek: :eek:

The B-2 radar is only one capability that has been lost since the information revolution kicked into high gear. The Joint Tactical Information Distribution System, the first attempt to create a network-centric environment (and currently the only way to get AWACS targeting data to an F-22) has "limited supportability outside the continental U.S.," according to a U.S. military presentation, because it was developed in an occupied band.
http://www.military.com/features/0,15240,187202,00.html
 
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