sounding code name for a decidedly bizarre
In the late seventies, one of the main foci of aerospace research was the development of an entirely stealth aircraft. While low-visibility technologies had already been tested and implemented on surveillance aircraft—most notably the SR-71 Blackbird—a true stealth aircraft had yet to be developed. Two programs were undertaken simultaneously. One would lead to the development of the faceted approach to radar-scattering stealth and the F-117 Raven, the other would yield Tacit Blue.
When looking at Tacit Blue, one first thinks there might have been a problem with the camera, or perhaps the engineers. Any description probably wouldn't do it justice, but at best the thing can be descried as a flying board with sharp edges and wings. From the front it kinda looks like a flying saucer. This is a see it to believe it sort of thing. For the curious: http://www.area51zone.com/aircraft/blue4.jpg
In 1982, Tacit Blue flew for the first time in a test flight, and subsequently flew one hundred and thirty-five times over three years. The entire program cost one hundred sixty-five million bucks, with one hundred sixty-three million going to Northrop.
All looks aside, Tacit Blue would become one of the most successful programs in the history of the Air Force. The data collected from the Tacit Blue project would later be used in the creation of Northrop B-2 Spirit.
Regarding the aircraft's unique appearence: according to ocelotbob, the plane's nickname among the engineers who designed it was the Advanced Tactical Bathtub, a pun on the stealth bomber's designation of Advanced Tatical Bomber.