Watch a fascinating and informative documentary that profiles one of America's greatest military aircraft: the B-2 stealth bomber. In this segment you'll learn about B-2's Weapon Arsenal.
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Learn About B-2 Weapons It is only fitting that the most sophisticated bomber on earth carries the world’s most sophisticated arsenal. The B-2 can carry anywhere from 80 500-pounds to eight 5000-pound bunker busters. Other options include sea mines, stealthy cruise missiles and just about everything in between. The crown jewel in the B-2’s arsenal is the 2000-pound JDAM. JDAM stands for Joint Direct Attack Munition, but it is commonly shortened to smart bomb. The JDAM comes in a variety of weights from 250 pounds to 5000 pounds although each has the same basic purpose, to deliver a high powered explosive punch with pinpoint accuracy everytime. A JDAM is made from a free fall bomb, a strake assembly which adds stability and a tail kit which contains satellite guidance equipment and the fins which steer the bombs. JDAM’s can be programmed on the ground before they are loaded into the B-2 or they can be reprogrammed in flight to accommodate changing target conditions. The B-2 carries its weapons in a manner different from the most other bombers where B-17’s and the original B-52’s carry their bombs stocked in racks to be released on mass. The B-2 uses a rotary launch assembly. When the pilot wants to drop a bomb, the bomb bay doors open, the assembly rotates to the correct position and drops the requested bomb. This allows the B-2 to carry different types of munitions or bombs programmed for specific targets, in the same bomb bay and provides a connection between smart bombs and the B-2’s computers. In the air, the B-2’s onboard computers and the computers in the JDAM are linked providing the smart bomb with up to the minute information about target position and weather. During the B-2’s 40-hour flight, targets may move, winds may shift or storms may move in. The JDAM uses this information to correct its course and to assure maximum impact with minimals of the un-casualties. The strake assembly and tail fins on the JDAM act like wings giving it a gliding range of just under eight miles. All the B-2 must due its pass within eight miles of its target and the JDAM will take care of the rest. Once the JDAM is released from the B-2, its guidance is internal and extremely accurate satellite guidance receiver in the tail homes the JDAM in on its target. If the satellite guidance fails, the JDAM has an inertial guidance system backup accurate too within inches. It is the same system used on US submarines for navigation. The most common load on the B-2 is 16 2000-pound JDAMs. New technology called the smart bomb rack assembly will allow the B-2 to carry 80 smaller 500-pound JDAMs. This is over four times its previous capacity. Missions that would have required five B-2 flights now only require one because for most targets, the 500-pound bomb is just as effective as the 2000-pound. The B-2 carries many other amazing weapons including the AJM-158 stealth cruise missile. Angular in shape, the 158 is nearly invisible to radar. The 5000-pound bunker buster is a very end of the JDAM designed to penetrate deep into the earth and release a devastating explosion. From 500-pound smart bombs to stealth cruise missiles, the B-2 has the versatility to carry just about any weapon anywhere on earth and deliver it with precision accuracy eery time. The B-2 bomber has proven its effectiveness time and again through its use of low absorbability and smart weapons, the B-2 can engage targets with more accuracy, less civilian damage and more safety for the pilots than any other aircraft in the world.
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