The Rising of the Phoenix: Takeoff of the B-2 after fire
In the last quarter of last year, Missouri became the scene of a maelstrom of fire when one of the most fearsome invisible bombers on earth consumed itself. General Thomas Bussiere, guardian of the sword for Air Force Global Strike Command, finally freed these metal eagles from their dormant nest, resuming their flights on Monday.
Still shrouded in uncertainty, the exact cause of the fire remains undiscovered. It has also not been revealed if any adjustments have been made to the fleet after this unfortunate incident.
“We opted for prudence, carefully evaluating possible security problems within the fleet during the security stoppage,” said Brus Vidal, the Air Force spokesman, thus clearing up any shadow of doubt about the appropriateness of the decision to resume operations. Flights.
Mysteries and Silences: The Air Force and the B-2 on Fire
The Air Force remains tight-lipped when questioned about the nature of the problems encountered with the fleet and the current situation of the damaged aircraft. The information is “privileged,” says Vidal, who added that the Aircraft Investigation Board will issue a report in a future that has not yet been determined.
The B-2, which shook the ground in Missouri with its crash landing and subsequent fire, lies quietly. Will it, too, be ready to fly again? Sergeant Major Beth Del Vecchio confirmed that there were no casualties following the incident, leaving the tragedy devoid of a human cost.
Impact and relevance: The B-2 Spirit Fleet in military chess
With just 20 B-2 spirit bombers gracing the Air Force fleet, each of these air giants represents a valuable piece on the strategic military chessboard, costing well over a billion dollars. A single decommissioned B-2 can create a significant hole in bombing operations.
The runway at the Whiteman air base, Missouri, housed the wrecked B-2 for 11 days in an unusual image that served as a reminder of the vulnerability of these titanic machines.
Following the unforeseen B-2 burn-up incident, the fleet was placed on safety recess, creating suspense in the air. These bombers are an essential element in the US nuclear triad, which also includes ground-based ballistic missiles and waterborne atomic submarines.
The pulse of the fleet: Operations in times of crisis
The fleet kept its vital heartbeat during the safety pause. “Our ability to execute our mission was never jeopardized: the B-2 fleet was able to continue flying missions under the orders of the US president or in support of the National Command Authority,” Vidal said. “Although the B-2 spirit fleet’s security pause has officially ended, our long-range strike and nuclear deterrent capability was never in question.”
The direct antecedent of the arson incident dates back to September 2021, when a B-2 slid off the runway at Whiteman, leaving no injuries or fire. The Air Force Global Strike Command released further details of this incident in March 2022.
The Spirit of Georgia: Chronicle of a Stumble
The B-2 involved in the slide, assigned to the 393rd Bomber Squadron of the 509th Missouri Bomber Wing, bore the name Spirit of Georgia. A photograph of the disaster went around social networks, showing the shocking panorama of the gigantic aircraft collapsed on the ground, with its landing gear apparently collapsed.
The report stressed that the damage to the plane was around $10 million, although a more rigorous review would be required. According to Air Force Colonel Robert Cocke, chairman of the board of inquiry, the crash likely resulted from the landing gear locking link springs not providing enough pressure to hold the locked position.
The future is up in the air: The advent of the B-21 Raider
The Air Force introduced its brand new bomber, the B-21 Raider, last year. This titan of the sky is the first new bomber aircraft in the US military fleet in more than three decades and is intended to replace the B-2 eventually.
The Pentagon plans to build 100 B-21s, outnumbering the Air Force’s combined B-2 and B-1B Lancer fleets, at an average unit cost per bomber of nearly $700 million, according to a US fact sheet.