Watch a B-2 Spirit bomber refuel and then rotate dorsal fuel receptacle to achieve full stealthiness

Mar 11 2015 - 7 Comments

Interesting video shows B-2 stealth bombers refuel over Montana

Usually, videos of U.S. Air Force B-2 stealth bombers getting fuel from KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refuelers are interesting for showing the plane’s inboard elevons continuously moving to keep the aircraft in the proper position for refueling.

These are just two of the Spirit’s control surfaces which include a two sets of drag rudders and speed brakes on both wings, near the wingtips, and the Gust Load Alleviation System on the plane’s “beaver tail” assembly.

In this case, the clip is particularly interesting as it clearly shows the Spirit’s rotating dorsal receptacle: once the refueling has finished the fuel intake required to connect with the tanker’s flying boom can’t remain exposed as it would become RCS “hotspot” rendering the B-2 less than completely stealthy.

For this reason the aircraft has an internal system which rotates the receptacle and hides it in such a way the aircraft is once again completely stealth.

By the way, footage was filmed over Montana from a 151st ARW KC-135 from Salt Lake City, Utah, during aerial refueling mission of three B-2s, on Feb. 18, 2015.


  • Trak

    Must be a slow mil aviation news day

    • Michael Rich

      Why do you say that? I found it interesting, the B-2 is a spectacular aircraft to watch.

  • Tom Jones

    It is a little thing, but that is brilliant engineering right there.
    Or am I giving the US too much credit for something simple?

    • Ed

      I think the brilliant part is how neat the top surface is after rotation – you can’t even see the receptacle was there afterwards.

  • Ed

    Does the F-22 have something similar?

    • riskinhos

      no it doesn’t.

  • jim

    That receptacle is seamless. After it rotated It looks like it just disappeared.