Is there any strategical or functional advantage to the shape of the B-2 stealth bomber? Why is it so geometrical?


Is there any strategical or functional advantage to the shape of the B-2 stealth bomber? Why is it so geometrical?

In: Technology

The shape is designed to be invisible to radar.

Radar detectors send radio waves off and then listen for an echo. Your typical aluminum cylinder-shaped aircraft with a big tail fin bounces a lot of radar signals back and shows up clearly.

The B2 has this unique shape to minimize that signal reflection. The geometric design bounces radar signals off at odd angles instead of back towards any detector. It’s also coated in a secret and fabulously expensive radar absorbing paint to further dampen any signal.

There actually is. The geometry helps absorbed radar. When they radio frequency hits an object at can get reflected, and when it does, the radar can receive the reflected signal and calculate where and how fast the object is. The geometry acts like a bunch of wires, absorbing the radio frequency to a local ground, greatly reducing the reflection to where the radar has a much harder time seeing it.

Just looking at the sky with a Mark 1 eyeball isn’t a great method of finding aircraft. Listening for them is marginally better, but it is pretty effective to shoot out radio waves and listen for them to bounce back. This RAdio Detection And Ranging or “RADAR” is commonly used to detect aircraft, and if you want to be stealthy you will need some way to avoid it.

The B-2 does this by trying to make sure there aren’t any surfaces that would bounce the radio waves back to the receiver. Angular surfaces to bounce signals off to the side work to do this.

Yes. It’s designed to not reflect radar back to radar stations. Curved surfaces do this by absorbing most of it and reflecting the remainder in every direction, and angular surfaces do this by reflecting it away from the direction it came from. So that’s why the side view of the B2 is very curvy, but from above it has a lot of sharp edges; it’s just to keep radar from seeing it for what it is.

To make it simple.

Everything in a stealth plane is specifically designed to avoid being spotted. Weird geometries make the plane distorted to radars and sensors.

A radar “shoot” a radio impulse and read what is reflected by objects.

What the plane do is absorbing and deflecting those impulses

The same happens with temperature, the weird shape modify how heat of the engine is ejected.

I know this is slightly left of topic, but I’m a bas-relief sculptor, working mostly for coins.
Once, I had to sculpt a stealth fighter for a coin series about planes.
Bas relief relies on light and shadow to create the illusion of form where there isn’t any.
Modeling the stealth fighter was almost impossible because the angles didn’t bounce light and shadow at all. The whole thing looked flat, no matter how deeply I sculpted it.
It was the same principle as being invisible to radar, just in a visible light spectrum.

I believe the shape itself is more to do with the aerodynamics of a flying wing rather than stealth. There is a flying wing made before that was propeller driven and has no stealth intent but it shares the same basic shape and nearly exactly the same width of the B-2