b-2-spirit

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Ten most expensive planes and helicopters of the U.S. air force

1. B-2 Spirit – $2 billion 1 million
2. F-22 Raptor – $146.2 million
3. C17A Globemaster III – $316 million
4. P-8A Poseidon – $115-150 million
5. VH-71 Kestrel – $400 million
6. E-2D Advanced Hawkeye – $80 million
7. F-35 Lightning II – $83.4 million
8. V-22 Osprey – $116,1 million
9. EA-18G Growler – $102 million
10. F/A-18 Hornet – $29 - 57 million

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Today, i’m bringing you a plane that’s been around for while, well, this “while” is 62 years, today, the photo series is about the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress or BUFF (Big Ugly Fat Fucker).

Photo series #5

Built in the 1950s with nuclear carrying capabilities, the B-52 replaced the Convair B-36 Peacemaker. Although it is a veteran of the USAF, it never got the chance to use it’s nuclear arsenal, all mission flown up to date has been for conventional bombing.

Because of it’s age, the US have made multiple attempts to replace it but the low operating costs and high subsonic performance has kept it in service, some of the planes that were tested as a replacement were the B-70 (cancelled program which gave way to the XB-70 Valkyrie), Rockwell B-1 Lancer and the Northrop B-2 Spirit, the last ones now are in service alongside the B-52.

The latest version of it is the B-52H with several upgrades done and more on the way, the BUFF is expected to stay in service all the way into 2040s.

One of the most impressive incidents with B-52H happened in January 10, 1964, when a testbed for structural integrity investigation lost it’s entire vertical stabilizer and continued flying after a severe turbulence, the plane landed safely.

With it’s eight Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-3 turbofans, a wide array of weapons and a great service record, the B-52 will continue to soar over the battlefield for a long time.

If you have any suggestions, contributions or want to send a entire photo series, don’t be shy, send them to me and i’ll upload them!

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Photo series #11

Today, we have a stealth post but you should be able to see because this photo series is about the Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk.

The development of this plane has been shrouded with secrecy and even today after it’s retirement, lots of information about it is still classified.

Born out of the Have Blue technology demonstrator, the Nighthawk is an attack jet with stealth capabitilies although having a “F” designation and often being called a “stealth fighter”, the F-117 don’t have any air-to-air potential.

It’s design is made from 2-D flat surfaces as a result of the 1970s computer limitations because of this, some may say the aircraft’s frame was obsolete even before going into service. The Nighthawk was designed to have a very low Radar Cross-Section (RCS), this was made due to the project being developed by radar engineering rather than by aerospace engineering. One of the main problems of keeping a low RCS is that the plane was aerodynamically unstable and that was a big issue in the 1960s because the computer technology could not provide the necessary flight computers which would later allow aircraft such as the F-117 and B-2 Spirit to stay airborne.

The Nighthawk was sent to multiple combat operations, the first one was during the United States invasion of Panama in 1989, where 2 F-117A dropped bombs on the Rio Hato airfield. During the Gulf War in 1991, the Nighthawks were used to drop laser-guided bombs on targets in areas where optically aimed AAA and infrared SAMs were present as this was the biggest threat to Coalition aircraft, most operations were done at night to fully conceal the aircraft.

Only one F-117 was lost in combat and that was during Operation Allied Force in 27 March 1999, the Yugoslav troops spotted the Nighthawk on the radar when it’s bomb bays were open, the increase in radar signature allowed the SA-3 “Goa” SAM to lock and fire the missiles, the pilot ejected but the plane crashed at a slow speed and in an inverted position, the damage done to the airframe was low, after six hours, the pilot was rescued by an USAF pararescue team. The Serbs invited Russian personnel to inspect the remains of the aircraft, some say that the russian stealth technology had a significant advance after this incident.

Today, the F-117A Nighthawk is out of service but is still being maintained to keep it in condition to be recalled to service, some Nighthawks were spotted flying in the Nellis Bombing Range in 2015 and some of them are flown periodically.

Well, that’s it for this photo series, i guess we might see some Nighthawks in action again if some big conflict fires up and the needs for a precision bomber arises.

As always, if you have any suggestions or want to contribute for the next photo series, send them to me, i’ll be more than happy to upload them.

Have a good day, folks!