Early on Oct. 11, a video clip claiming to show a U.S. stealth bomber landing in Poland “for the very first time” began circulating online, along with claims that the plane is capable of carrying a large nuclear weapons payload.
“An American B-2 bomber arrived in Poland for the first time in history. The Northrop B-2 Spirit is an American heavy stealth strategic bomber capable of carrying 16 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. Combat load up to 27,000 kg,” one tweet, written in Russian said.
The same video clip was being shared in Telegram channels that share news of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. One Telegram post, written in Russian and translated using Google Translate said, “The Northrop B-2 Spirit is an American heavy stealth strategic bomber. This aircraft can carry 16 cruise missiles with nuclear warheads. Combat load up to 27,000 kg. Russian publics massively post videos of the plane landing and do not panic.”
The video clip began circulating just five days after President Joe Biden spoke of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the ongoing war in Ukraine and the possibility Putin could be capable of using nuclear weapons.
Does a viral video show a U.S. stealth bomber landing Poland in October 2022?
No, a viral video does not show a U.S. stealth bomber landing Poland in October 2022. The video was actually taken in March 2020 from the RAF Fairford air base in the U.K.
WHAT WE FOUND
The video actually shows a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber landing at the Royal Air Force Fairford, also known as RAF Fairford, in Gloucester, England. It was not taken in 2022; it was originally posted to YouTube in 2020. The person who uploaded it to YouTube wrote in a caption that he took it in March 2020, two years before the war began between Ukraine and Russia.
Here is how we VERIFIED the video is not from Poland and wasn’t taken during the war in October 2022.
Using InVid, which is a video forensics tool, VERIFY was able to split the video into individual frames. Then, we used RevEye, a reverse image search tool, and were able to trace the video to the YouTube clip posted in March 2020 from the U.K.-based air base.
The same elements seen in the video clips posted on Oct. 11, 2022, can be seen in the original video clip that was posted in March 2020. For example, the same body of water can be seen in both videos, the same people standing in the road as the plane flies over, and the same green fencing can be seen in both videos.
Using Google Maps street view, VERIFY was also able to trace the approximate location where the video clip was filmed. It was taken from the Fairford approach, not from Poland, as people on social media claimed.
When the plane flies over the road, the same green fencing and buildings in the background can be seen on Google Street View, and also in the video clip originally posted in March 2020.
According to the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS), a portal for images taken by the military and available to the public, on March 13, 2020, the B-2 Spirit flew into RAF Fairfield to support the Bomber Task Force Europe.
“The aircraft is deployed as part of Bomber Task Force Europe, which tests the readiness of the Airmen and equipment that support it, as well as their collective ability to operate at forward locations,” according to DVIDs.
DVIDs does not have any footage in its database showing the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber in Poland.
VERIFY reached out to the Department of Defense for comment, but did not hear back at the time of publication.