New Year’s Day in Pasadena, California brings together many of America’s finest traditions: gardening, parades, football, and sheer unstoppable military power. Flying overhead the Rose Parade this year, and many years prior, was a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber. Parked nearby at Edwards Air Force Base, the bomber is only a short flight from the festivities, which means that America got to celebrate college athleticism by showing us all what a terrifying bombing approach looks like:
Developed during the 1980s and introduced in the mid-1990s to defeat a Soviet threat that no longer existed, only 21 B-2s were ever made. Stealthy and long-endurance, they made their combat debut over Kosovo in 1999, flying 30 hour missions from Missouri to their targets and back. Most of the fighting America’s military does these days is against non-state actors and insurgent forces without the means to get the kind of anti-air missiles B-2s are made to sneak past, so the bomber has a lot of down time.
Which it uses to check out parades. Watch it fly over the Rose Parade, captured beautifully from a helicopter above Spirit: