Following a $2 billion B-2 jet fire, NATO’s sole stealth bomber squadron is rendered inoperable

The U.S. Air Force has seen its B-2 Spirit stealth bomber fleet further depleted following an accident at Whiteman Air Force Base on December 10, with reports emerging on December 13 that the aircraft involved suffered damage after experiencing an “in-flight malfunction during routine operations” including an onboard fire.

B-2 Bombers on Runway

This follows a prior emergency landing in September 2021 which took another B-2 out of service, with both bombers expected to require several years of maintenance if they are ever to be brought back into service. The sole runway at Whiteman has since remained closed, meaning the entire remainder of the B-2 fleet will be unavailable for operations.

Whiteman is home to the 509th Bomb Wing where all B-2s are primarily based, with the unit of 20 aircraft representing the only stealth bomber wing in NATO due to deep cuts to B-2 production from 120 jets to jus one sixth that number.


B-2 Bombers on Runway USAF/Bryson Britt

Costing over $2 billion each, the bombers’ very high operational costs and maintenance needs as well as their wide ranging performance issues were key factors in the decision to scale back production despite significant expenses already having been sunk into research and development.

The B-2’s maintenance requirements mean they cannot be based outside the United States, while the small size of the fleet means it has often been thinly stretched due to the high demand for its unique capabilities on multiple fronts. The problematic bombers are expected to be phased out of service years ahead of schedule in the 2030s as the newer B-21 Raider is brought into service.

B-21 Bomber Prototype

The B-21 will make its first flight in 2023, after over two years of delays, and promises to provide an aircraft with more modest maintenance needs, superior stealth capabilities, and the ability to deploy much more widely including from overseas bases – although its range and payload will be significantly lower than those of the more expensive but older B-2.

Where the B-2 was developed with strikes against the Soviet Union primarily in mind, and subsequently played a key role in plans for possible strikes on North Korea or Iran due to its access to unique ‘bunker buster’ penetrative bombs, the B-21 was designed primarily for the Pentagon’s plans for a possible conflict with China.

B-2 Spirit Bomber

Related Posts

Understanding the WWII ɩeɡасу of the Soviet K-7 Heavy ЬomЬeг

The Soviet Heavy ЬomЬeг K-7 was a remarkable aircraft built in Russia during the 1930s. It was designed Ƅy Konstantin Kalinin, an amƄitious engineer and aircraft designer,…

Russia’s New PAK DA Stealth ЬomЬeг Will Have Hypersonic weарoпѕ Mounted on It

Last month, the United States Air foгсe released a new artist rendering of its still-in-development B-21 Raider. The latest images of the heavy ЬomЬeг саme after it was announced in June that…

To allow the enormous A400M to launch vertically, Airbus made a $1 billion investment.

The A400 was never intended for verticle capability. It was designed to have short field takeoff and landing. It is a very capable aircraft. JATO has not…

The Gatling ɡᴜп on the MiG-27’s jаw-dropping рoweг аɡаіпѕt eпemу aircraft

The two-meter long cannon generated a remarkable 6 tons of recoil, causing vibrations ѕtгoпɡ enough to сгасk fuel tanks, dаmаɡe avionics systems, and consistently dіѕɩodɡe landing lights…

For MQ-9 training, ASTi will provide 27 Simulated Environments for Realistic ATC (SERA).

ASTi 𝚛𝚎c𝚎ntl𝚢 𝚛𝚎c𝚎iv𝚎𝚍 𝚊 c𝚘nt𝚛𝚊ct 𝚊w𝚊𝚛𝚍 𝚏𝚛𝚘m SAIC 𝚏𝚘𝚛 27 inst𝚊nc𝚎s 𝚘𝚏 its in𝚍𝚞st𝚛𝚢-l𝚎𝚊𝚍in𝚐 Sim𝚞l𝚊t𝚎𝚍 Envi𝚛𝚘nm𝚎nt 𝚏𝚘𝚛 R𝚎𝚊listic ATC (SERA) 𝚙𝚛𝚘𝚍𝚞ct. In 𝚊 n𝚞ts𝚑𝚎ll, SERA 𝚙𝚛𝚘vi𝚍𝚎s 𝚊𝚞t𝚘m𝚊t𝚎𝚍,…

The F-15 Eagle: The Best fіɡһteг in History: Unveiling Its ѕᴜргemасу

The McDoппell Doυglas F-15 Eagle staпds as a twiп-eпgiпe fіɡһteг aircraft that has faithfυlly served the US Air foгсe for пυmeroυs decades. Siпce its iпtrodυctioп iп 1976,…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *