A manufacturing marvel

Published: Thursday 31 October 1996

The world's most expensive aircraft -- the billion-dollar B2 stealth bomber -- was recently on display at the Farnborough air show in UK. The aircraft has many technological spin-offs that will bring benefits to the manufacturing industry. Almost 900 new materials and processes were developed to build the B2. One of the main advancements has been in three-dimensional computer-aided design and manufacture, without which it would have been impossible to make the calculations for its complex curves and angles or achieve the high level of manufacturing accuracy needed to maintain its secret characteristics. With the success of this new design technology, the B2 became the first aircraft in history to go straight from the drawing board to manufacture, dispensing with the need for prototypes.

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