Document Type: 
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Document Creation Date: 
November 4, 2016
Document Release Date: 
May 16, 2000
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Publication Date: 
May 2, 1988
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PDF icon CIA-RDP96-00789R000300810002-8.pdf101.28 KB
Al proved For Release 2000/08/08 : CIA-RDP96-00789R000300810002-8 First Peek at a Stealthy Plane For nearly ten years, the Stealth bomber has been a se- cret in name only. Despite a hidden budget and a classifi- cation higher than top secret, military analysts and avia- tion buffs have pieced togeth- er a remarkably detailed pic- ture of the first nuclear bomber designed to be al- most invisible to enemy ra- dar. Last week the Air Force acknowledged the plane's flying-wing shape for the first time. The Pentagon issued a drawing of the so-called B-2 and announced that the bomber will make its maiden flight sometime this fall in a 30-mile run between Palm- dale and Edwards Air Force Base in California. The B-2's boomerang shape eliminates the thick fuselage and vertical tail sec- tion that reflect radar in con- ventional planes. Flaps, rud- ders, elevators and aile- rons appear to have been replaced by computer- controlled nozzles that guide the aircraft by directing the flow of the engine's exhaust. The engines themselves are nestled above the wings, shielding them from heat- seeking detectors on the ground. The outer skin and in- ner framework are cast in ra- dar-absorbing carbon-epoxy composites. Other stealthy The Air Force's drawing confirmed that its secret B-2 is a flying wing / //,;;~ E-_ - "?,-, M N I t ~' features might include nonre- flective paint and a refrigera- tion system to cool and dissi- pate telltale exhaust fumes. Experts point out that the Air Force drawing may be somewhat misleading. Sever- al details, like the placement of the engine-exhaust outlets, have been deliberately masked. Others, including crew size and maximum pay- load, along with such flight characteristics as range, air- speed and cruising altitude, remain strictly classified. The Air Force does acknowl- edge, however, that the plane is going to cost more than. projected. The fleet of 132 bombers, originally priced at $36.6 billion, could cost twice as much by the time it is air- borne in the 1990s. Approved For Release 2000/08/08 : CIA-RDP96-00789R000300810002-8