Northrop Tacit Blue

1 min read
By JKH
Northrop Tacit Blue
Tacit Blue in flight during the early 1980's

The Northrop Tacit Blue was a technology demonstrator aircraft created to demonstrate that a low-observable stealth surveillance aircraft with a low-probability-of-intercept radar (LPIR) and other sensors could operate close to the forward line of battle with a high degree of survivability.

Tacit Blue, nicknamed "the whale" (and sometimes also called an "alien school bus" for its only slightly rounded-off rectangular shape), featured a straight tapered wing with a V-tail mounted on an oversized fuselage with a curved shape. It was the first stealth aircraft to feature curved surfaces for radar cross-section reduction. Northrop would use this stealth technology on the B-2 bomber. A single flush inlet on the top of the fuselage provided air to two medium-bypass turbofan engines. Tacit Blue employed a quadruply redundant digital fly-by-wire flight control system to help stabilize the aircraft about its longitudinal and directional axes.

This was more proof of concept for stealth in general but not a prototype in direct line for the B-2.
BASX design helped the ATB.

More: https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/16410/test-pilot-recounts-flying-both-have-blue-and-tacit-blue-experimental-stealth-jets

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