Mystery Aircraft at Edwards AFB


anzha

Junior Member
Registered Member

The picture is from my own personal blog, given to me by the photographers.


There's an aircraft that was spotted at Edwards AFB. Superficially, it looks like a B-2. In fact, it may be a B-2. However, there's some evidence it might be something else. The Aviationist
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it might be the B-21. The original photographers think it might be the RQ-180.

Some of the differences from the B-2 are:

1. The nose gear is wrong for the B-2.

2. The central fuselage is narrower than on the B-2.

3. The intakes appear to be further apart from the center fuselage than on the B-2.

4. The wingspan appears to be different than the B-2, 132 ft vs 172 ft.

5. There appears to be a central, singular center line bomb bay. The B-2 has two slightly off center symmetrically placed bomb bays.

6. The engines were powered up at one point, but some of the secondary inlets were not open as would it would be on a B-2 on the ground.

I am not linking to my personal blog because I am not sure what the rules are for that here. If one of the mods comes through and says its kosher, I will. Otherwise, the Aviationist link will be the only one. The point is less about traffic (my blog doesn't earn any money), but rather more about what people here think.

So, as I said, I am curious as to what the posters here think.
 

SinoSoldier

Colonel
Most likely a mockup, since Plant 42 at Palmdale still needs to complete the RAM coating facility by 2019, although I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out to be the real deal. A November reveal for the B-21 would be on or near the 30th anniversary of the B-2's maiden flight.

Once again, the United States has beaten China to the punch. :)
 

Bltizo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Looks like a B-2 to me. Landing gear, and cockpit and air intake bulges all look distinctly similar to the B-2's configuration. Likely taken slightly off axis from a direct frontal. That, along with the poor lighting, make me think it's just a B-2, that possibly looks a bit weird.

Estimating the wingspan of the aircraft from this distance under those lighting conditions is difficult but the relative distance and sizes of the distinctive features makes me think it's a B-2.
 

anzha

Junior Member
Registered Member
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That may be the case.

The Aviationist has some analysis. You guys might want to take a look there.
 

Bltizo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
I've read the aviationist analysis, but so much of it is based on such a poor quality picture with influence from light glare, unknown effect of perspectives, and generally being so dark and blurred that it could account for all of the claimed "differences".

I especially roll my eyes at the attempt to have an accurate estimate of the aircraft's dimensions based on the ground power unit at that kind of distance and resolution.



I'm not going to rule out the possibility that it might be B-21, but I think much of the speculation and claimed differences between the "mystery" aircraft and the B-2 is circumstantial at best.
 

Bltizo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
I'd say not the B-2 with its weapons-bays open. The blurring of the bay doors is likely what gives the landing gear shape. The aircraft is not dead straight towards the camera. The is a slight angle.

PS: From the artwork released (e.g.
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) intake will be located differently from the B-2.
wait are you saying you think it is a B-2, or that you don't think it's a B-2?
 

Totoro

Captain
VIP Professional
Article authors updated their work and said images point to a B-2.

B-21 wouldnt make sense anyway, it's too early in its development cycle to have any sort of prototype made. Even if it was a full sized mockup, why parade it out in the open?
 

TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
Article authors updated their work and said images point to a B-2.

B-21 wouldnt make sense anyway, it's too early in its development cycle to have any sort of prototype made. Even if it was a full sized mockup, why parade it out in the open?
Because it's a white program.
B2, was a grey program it started in the black then transitioned into the white. F22 and F35 are both white programs the General history of the program is in the open and you can gage a general idea of what they can do.

This differs from say the stealth Blackhawk, which we only know exists because of a crash and what it does because of the operation being outed. We don't know much more. We have no idea on the history the builder the numbers the unit that fly it where it is based. It's all black.

B21 is a white program as such a mach up is perfectly reasonable to build for funding bids, and defence shows.
 

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