This video of a B-2 Stealth Bomber shot from another aircraft (presumably a blimp) during a flyover for the the 2015 Rose Bowl makes it look like the bat-winged super bomber is making an attack run on Pasadena!
The B-2 community did an incredible job nailing this flyover perfectly to what seemed like an oddly timed variation of the Star Spangled Banner. B-2 crews are truly the best in the business as they fly some of the most sensitive attack missions in the world, where exact timing is essential to not only the mission's success but it is also critical to the crew's very survival. A few seconds on either side of a planned time over target while flying in complete radio silence can mean all the right elements are out of place for a successful strike, the result of which could mean being detected and even shot down.
One of my B-2 contacts informs me that when it comes to flyovers, although they plan to hit an exact time time over target for the scheduled ending of National Anthem, a controller on the ground, usually another B-2 pilot, gives the jet real-time directions to speed up and slow down based on their intuition. In other words, executing something like this perfectly is more of an artform than a science.
As for the know-nothings who slam flyovers like this as wasted tax dollars, thanks a ton for complicating the military spending debate with disinformation. Flyovers take tremendous coordination, both with private and public entities, and the same skills used on these missions relate to those used on the battlefield. The only difference is that the American taxpayer gets to see our fantastic service people and their gear in action instead of it operating out of view on some training range in the middle of New Mexico. In other words, yes flyovers like this are an incredible recruiting and publicity tool, but they also make the brave and dedicated folks who fly and maintain these machines better at warfighting.
When it comes to the B-2's truly global reach and mission set, where real-life sorties can last more than a day, there is a good chance that the B-2 that flew over the Rose Bowl last week also 'struck' simulated targets around the western U.S. on its way back to its home at Whiteman AFB in Missouri. Although the B-2 is not cheap to fly, at over $100k per flight hour, you can be fairly certain that every hour the B-2 community is allotted to fly their magnificent aircraft is used very wisely as they truly are the tip of the spear. And sometimes that can include showing off what they do to millions of people across the U.S. by routing a training mission over a beloved national event during the most patriotic moment of the whole spectacle. The result of which is a truly memorable and exhilarating moment for all to enjoy.
Here is the live broadcast recording including a couple incredible shots of the B-2 approaching head-on, boards out to slow its approach. Sadly, I cannot find a HD version of this same clip.
Here is another reverse-angle view of the B-2's 2015 Rose Bowl appearance courtesy of photographer Matt Hartman.
And finally the view from stadium via the AP:
Tyler Rogoway is a defense journalist and photographer who maintains the website Foxtrot Alpha for Jalopnik.com You can reach Tyler with story ideas or direct comments regarding this or any other defense topic via the email address Tyler@Jalopnik.com