In the presence of members of Congress and the media, the Northrop B-2 "stealth" bomber is shown publicly for the first time at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California.
The aircraft, which was developed in great secrecy for nearly a decade, was designed with stealth characteristics that would allow it to penetrate an enemy's most sophisticated defenses unnoticed. At the time of its public unveiling, the B-2 had not even been flown on a test flight. It rapidly came under fire for its massive cost--more than $40 billion for development and a $1 billion price tag for each unit.
In 1989, the B-2 was successfully flown, performing favorably. Although the aircraft had a wingspan of nearly half a football field, its radar signal was as negligible as that of a bird. The B-2 also successfully evaded infrared, sound detectors, and the visible eye.