B-2 stealth bombers at Whiteman AFB returning to skies after 5-month hiatus

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. – A B-2 Spirit, taxies down the Whiteman Air Force Base...
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. – A B-2 Spirit, taxies down the Whiteman Air Force Base flightline prior to takeoff, Aug. 22, 2009. Twenty-one B-2 Spirit aircrafts are assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing here. The B-2's primary mission is to attack time-critical targets early in a conflict to minimize an enemy's war-making potential. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kenny Holston)(SrA Kenny Holston | Whiteman AFB)
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 7:49 AM CDT
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KNOB NOSTER, Mo. (KCTV) - Twenty B-2 Spirit stealth bombers have been grounded since December due to safety concerns. They will finally resume their flights beginning Monday.

The Air Force Times reported that the fleet returned to normal operations on May 18, more than five months after they were pulled from flight due to an in-flight malfunction.

A Dec. 10 incident at Whiteman Air Force Base resulted in firefighters extinguishing flames from a bomber that had to make an emergency landing.

“We successfully accomplished all necessary actions to safely return to full flight operations,” Gen. Thomas Bussiere, the head of Air Force Global Strike Command, said. “Our ability to deliver nuclear deterrence and provide long-range strike was never in doubt.”

The Air Force has not yet released a public version of its investigation into that accident, according to the report.

Whiteman has served as the B-2 Spirit’s base since the 1990s. In December 2022, the Pentagon announced it will debut its new stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider, the first new American bomber aircraft in more than 30 years.

The B-2 was also envisioned to be a fleet of more than 100 aircraft, but the Air Force built only 21, due to cost overruns and a changed security environment after the Soviet Union fell. Fewer than that are ready to fly on any given day due to the significant maintenance needs of the aging bomber.