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The B-2 Spirit stealth
bomber offers similar capabilities, with the addition of stealth –
enabling it to penetrate heavily defended airspace,
especially at night. The B-2 also carries an impressive weapon's load
– it was recently re-equipped with a modified weapons rack that
simultaneously dropped 80 JDAM GPS-guided weapons from a single B-2.
The B-2 flew 43 combat missions in Operation Iraqi Freedom,
employing more than 400 precision weapons throughout in the air campaign.
Since then, the aircraft has been used to test new munitions to
further enhancing its conventional attack capability, including
JASSM stealth cruise
missiles, which allows the aircraft to strike targets from a greater
distance; The EGBU-28, which
combines both global positioning system and laser guidance for
increased operational flexibility (all weather) and adaptation of
the 500 pound (227 kg) JDAM. The B-2 previously used this system only to
guide 2,000-pound (909 kg) bombs. The smaller warhead enables the B-2 to
increase the potential number of JDAMs carried per flight from 16
to as many as 80.
The B-2 can also carry eight of the massive 5,000-pound (2.27 ton
kg) GBU-37 bunker-buster bombs, and may eventually carry a pair of
the 30,000-pound (13.6 ton) (Massive Ordnance Penetrators.
Eventually, the could carry 216 or even as many as 324 of the new,
guided Small Diameter Bombs (SDB). These
bombs are carried on the BRU-61/A smart pneumatic carriage, each
holding four SDB weapons. In addition, improvements have been made
to the Spirit's coating, which has reduced maintenance actions from
days to minutes.
Next on the upgrade plan is the introduction of
Link-16 communications will further
improve the bomber's integration to support tactical operations.
These datalinks will feed targeting information including image and
video directly to individual bombs. Other future upgrades will
include radar updates, which will enable the B-2's weaponry to reach
targets further underground.