VIA : THE WAR ZONE:
Northrop Grumman recently released an awesome series of videos that detail the genesis of the B-2 Spirit—the world's first stealth bomber—via testimony from those who brought it to life. The videos also include a bunch of historical images and video taken during the flying wing bomber's development. One of these images grabbed my eye as it looked like no Advanced Technology Bomber—the program that gave birth to the B-2—cockpit concept I have ever seen. I reached out to Northrop Grumman about the puzzling photo and what I got back confirmed my suspicions.
In the previous article, in which I questioned the photo's origins, I wrote:
"Second is this image of the mock-up of a cockpit. The panel layout is vaguely similar to the one that made it into the B-2 but the B-2 has a two-crew side-by-side cockpit. Was this for a technology demonstrator that predated the actual B-2 itself? Maybe the single station was going to be mirrored for the actual aircraft, but there are other oddities. For instance, the panel is smaller, lacking the two lower side-by-side cathode ray multi-function displays. It also has a 'canopy severance' handle. The B-2 doesn't have a canopy but it does have hatches that its ejection seats fire through. A central windscreen support structure also seems to indicate that this is a single seat cockpit concept, or at least a tandem one..."
As I subsequently came to find out, the image made it into the B-2 video presentation by mistake—which would be incredibly easy to make. The photo in question doesn't belong to the B-2 program, at least not directly. Instead, it came about from a previously undisclosed program from the 1990s called the Special Operations Low-Intensity Combat Mission Aircraft.