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Midwest Mystery Jets are Actually B-2 Stealth Bombers

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A B-2 in 2010. US Air Force Photo

A B-2 in 2010. US Air Force Photo

The mystery jets that were spotted over Amarillo, Texas, and Wichita, Kan. earlier this year are in fact Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bombers on a training sortie, military sources told USNI News on Monday.

“The Amarillo jets were B-2 training sorties,” an U.S. Air Force official with direct knowledge of the incident told USNI News on Monday.

The jets were enroute to the Utah Test and Training Range to practice dropping bombs after a brief delay at the Melrose Air Force Range in New Mexico.

Flying out of Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., the B-2s would likely have navigated via Amarillo to get to Melrose Range.


View Mystery Planes Are B-2s in a larger map

“The Kansas picture is likely any number of training sorties flown around Kansas and Missouri,” the official added.

Whiteman, the home station of the B-2 fleet, is just outside of Kansas City near the border between Kansas and Missouri.

Earlier reporting that suggested that the images showed a thus far unknown type of triangular aircraft were mistaken due to the poor resolution of the photos.

Photo taken by amature photographer Jeff Templin in Kansas on April 16, 2014

Photo taken by amature photographer Jeff Templin in Kansas on April, 16 2014

The triangular planform on apparent display in those shots is the result of an optical illusion that obscured the trailing edge of the B-2s design.

“Given the resolution of this photo, we can’t even tell if it is a military
aircraft, much less an Air Force one,” Air Force spokeswoman Jennifer Cassidy told USNI News on April 21.

The U.S. Air Force fields 20 of the stealth bombers.

  • wiz99

    I am not buying the conclusion that the picture from the amature photo is a B2. Look at the angle of the wings in that photo compared to the stock photo of the B2. Maybe distortion explains it, but the wings in the amature photo are about 90 degrees, while the stock photo of the B2, the wings are greater than 90 degrees.

    • Ronin

      Wiz99,

      You are absolutely correct, that is not a B2.

    • Aaron_Burr

      Photo is horrible and you are assuming the aircraft is flying straight and level. If climbing or descending, when viewed from the ground the wind sweep would appear different.

  • Andy

    Dave, thanks for the story, but you might want to chat with someone like Bill Sweetman about what “official sources” can and will say about things like this. I will eschew the pejorative and simply say that you should retain a very high level of skepticism about what you were told.

  • Ctrot

    The leading edge sweep of the mystery aircraft is much greater than on the B-2.

    • Aaron_Burr

      You are assuming the aircraft is flying straight and level. If climbing or descending, when viewed from the ground the wind sweep would appear different.

  • Chris

    Uh, the wing sweep in different. More sweep on the “mystery” aircraft.

  • Amelia_Earwig

    “Given the resolution of this photo, we can’t even tell if it is a military
    aircraft, much less an Air Force one,” Air Force spokeswoman Jennifer Cassidy told USNI News on April 21.

    What a stupid comment.

  • Anonymouse

    “Swamp gas”

    • mike

      with light reflecting off of venus

  • Maineguy

    That had to be one heck of a camera to capture the straight-line detail of the trailing edge and obscure the “sawtooth trailing edge” of a B2 … the USAF story doesn’t pass the smell test!

  • Mike Radecki

    When the SR-71 was retired I have often wondered what they replaced it with. The leading edge is a legitimate point in the new photo. The trailing edge looks like a straight line. Lastly when the F-117 was being flown in the 80′s and a couple were crashed. It was always a low level A-7 training accident. The USAF is not going to spill the beans until they are ready.

  • gordy

    Take the B2 and put it into a banked turn. The V becomes more acute to the eye. Without a rudder such a turn would also produce what looks like the yaw in the picture. Just one explanation. Not everything is a government conspiracy.

  • mike

    ok people, nothing to see here, move along to the next article and sign your waivers

  • CharleyA

    This quote doesn’t instill confidence:

    “”Given the resolution of this photo, we can’t even tell if it is a military
    aircraft, much less an Air Force one,” Air Force spokeswoman Jennifer Cassidy told USNI News on April 21.”

    I guess USAF photo interpretation skills have deteriorated markedly. Implying that this is some new Rutan innovation or other commercial aircraft is ludicrous. A further example why the USAF is having a difficult time justifying the retirement of A-10s….

    Anyway, whether it is a B-2 or some undisclosed aircraft, the photo does illustrate why stealth aircraft need to operate at night – those contrails can be seen for miles.

  • 555

    有意思啊