Our good friend David Cenciotti posted a very cool USAF video showing a B-2 Spirit being refueled high over Montana. Watching the flying wing's control surfaces working to keep it stabilized below the KC-135 is always amazing, but the real payoff comes at the end when we see the jet's revolving refueling receptacle seemingly melt into the big jets stealthy skin.
Building a stealthy aircraft represents all sorts of challenges and many of them are far from glamorous. These include how to design retractable antennas, auxiliary air inlets and many other obtrusive but essential pieces of hardware in such a way that the aircraft can be a stealthy as possible when it needs to be and as functional as possible when it doesn't have to be stealthy. Things like revolving refueling receptacles are just part of America's low-observable cocktail of exotic solutions to what on a normal aircraft would be mundane design challenges.
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.comr