Northrop Tacit Blue
Built by Northrop Tacit Blue to German as " Silent Blue ", was an experimental aircraft from the U.S. Air Force, aimed at showing that stealth reconnaissance aircraft can operate close to the front, without being detected by enemy radar. Tacit Blue has contributed much to the understanding of stealth technology and was an important step in the development of the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.
The information on the project Tacit Blue were released by the Ministry of Defense of the United States on 30 April 1996. The project should demonstrate the effectiveness of stealth aircraft in front. Tacit Blue was developed in order to take back the front monitoring tasks and to transmit target information in real time to the ground.
Tacit Blue, nicknamed " The Whale " had trapezoidal wing and a V-tail. A single air intake on the top of the fuselage enough to supply the two turbofan engines. Tacit Blue introduced a quadruple redundant digital fly - by-wire flight control system.
The construction costs were around 165 million U.S. dollars.
The first application was made in February 1982. A total of 135 flights were carried out within three years. After about 250 hours of flight Tacit Blue was mothballed in 1985. Today, the aircraft at the National Museum of the United States Air Force can be visited at Wright - Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio.
The serial number is unknown. Although a second copy was built as a replacement, only one aircraft is flown.