Re: B-21 Has Begun Taxi Tests

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Message posted by NotTelling (Member since 07/02/2023) on October 27, 2023 at 12:00:15 PST:

The B-2 was one of first aircraft with a full glass cockpit (if not THE first). The hope was that a 2-man crew could fully manage the aircraft and the mission. However, to reduce risk they designed in provisions for a third crewmember (I linked a picture where you can still see a third hatch behind the "copilot" hatch [really the "Mission Commander" seat]). The thought was that this 3rd crewmember would be a Weapon System Officer (aka Navigator) to manage the mission and defensive systems. Remember, GPS was still being fielded (and was still unproven) at this time and the constellation was woefully under-populated (I recall being forced to fly test missions at night because that was the only time that there would be 4 GPS satellites in view to test the system).

That said, early flight testing revealed that the 2-man concept was completely viable so the third ejection seat was never installed for weight savings. The hatch however is still in place (too $$ to redesign the structural load paths) but IIRC is bolted in place and the explosive ejection mechanism removed (weight and safety).

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In Reply to: Re: B-21 Has Begun Taxi Tests posted by AlwaysVFR on October 26, 2023 at 19:31:22 PST:


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