AFGSC Stands Down B-2 Fleet Following Recent Emergency Landing And Fire At Whiteman AFB

B-2 Stand Down

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B-2 Stand Down
B-2 Spirit stealth bombers assigned to Whiteman Air Drive Base taxi and take-off throughout train Spirit Vigilance on Whiteman Air Drive Base on November seventh, 2022. (U.S. Air Drive photograph by Airman 1st Class Bryson Britt)

The B-2 Spirit bomber fleet on a security stand down following the incident on Dec. 10, 2022.

The B-2A Spirit bombers of the 509th Bomb Wing will stay grounded at Whiteman Air Drive Base, Missouri, and never ready to participate within the 2023 Rose Parade or Rose Bowl Sport flyovers, because the U.S. Air Drive World Strike Command (AFGSC) has ordered a fleet inspection following the incident earlier this month, during which a Spirit was broken. For that reason, the normal flyover (check out some beautiful aerial photographs right here: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020) might be carried out on Jan. 2, 2023, by B-1B Lancer bombers from Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota.

On Dec. 10, 2022, one of many 20 stealth bombers of the 509BW skilled an in-flight malfunction and compelled to hold out a profitable emergency touchdown on the on base’s solely runway 01/19. A hearth erupted aboard the B-2 after touchdown inflicting injury to the plane.

Instantly thereafter, a NOTAM (NOtice To AirMen) was issued to shut the runway at Whiteman AFB till Dec. 16. Though the NOTAM M1346/22 has now been prolonged till Dec. 31, 2022, the introduced security stand down that may stop the B-2 from flying over the Rose Parade will prolong into the following 12 months.

The Dec. 10 incident comes little a couple of 12 months after one other B-2A suffered a touchdown incident on the runway at Whiteman AFB.

B-2
The Mishap Plane depicted the place it got here to relaxation east of the Whiteman AFB runway. (Picture credit score: USAF)

That is an excerpt from a previous report:

On Sept. 14, 2021, at 00:19 LT, a B-2A Spirit, assigned to the 393d Bomb Squadron (393 BS) of the 509th Bomb Wing (509 BW), skilled a left essential touchdown gear (LMLG) collapse whereas touchdown on the runway at Whiteman Air Drive Base, Missouri. As a consequence of the collapse, the stealth bomber, tail quantity 89-0129 (“Spirit of Georgia”), skidded off runway till it got here to a cease about 1 mile from the landing level.

Following the incident, a Momentary Flight Restriction was activated with a six nautical miles radius across the air base from floor to eight,000 toes, with the rationale listed within the NOTAM (NOtice To AirMen) as “to offer a protected surroundings for accident investigation”.

“The Abbreviated Accident Investigation Board (AAIB) President discovered, by a preponderance of the proof, the reason for the mishap was that the MA’s [Mishap Aircraft] LMLG [Left Main Landing Gear] lock hyperlink springs failed to offer enough stress to keep up the lock hyperlinks within the locked place, which resulted in a LMLG collapse throughout the MA’s touchdown. Additional, the AAIB President discovered, by a preponderance of the proof, that one issue considerably contributed to the mishap: the failure of a hydraulic CryoFit coupling that drove a speedy a lack of hydraulic fluid within the #1 and #4 hydraulic programs, which remoted the LMLG lock hyperlink actuator and prevented its use in helping the LMLG lock hyperlink to stay down and locked.”

The incident on Dec. 10, 2022 is much more important than the one on 2021 (that brought about injury to the airframe value a minimal of $10.1 million), due to the influence it has on the strategic deterrence capabilities of the U.S. that won’t be able to rely, for a minimum of some weeks, on 20 of its 66 nuclear bombers, the “seen leg of nuclear triad” and the “world’s most strategic plane”, as Col. Geoffrey Steeves, 509th Operations Group commander, referred to as the Spirit fleet in November, when Whiteman AFB was in a position to collect 8 B-2 stealth bombers on the runway for an Elephant Walk whose function was to reveal the flexibility of the World Strike Command to discourage the enemy whereas showcasing the entire stealth bomber staff’s capacity by generate a number of sorties.  “Right here we reveal to our close to peer adversaries, in addition to to ourselves, how properly we are able to carry out,” Capt. Richard Collier, 509th Plane Upkeep Squadron director of operations stated, commenting the Nov. 7, 2022 show of energy by the 509th and 131st Bomb Wings as a part of Train Spirit Vigilance 22. 5 weeks later, the B-2 touchdown incident grounded all of the fleet.

As now we have reported intimately, the B-2 and B-1 fleets, might be each changed within the 2030s by the B-21 Raider, the U.S. Air Drive’s subsequent stealth bomber constructed by Northrop Grumman that was unveiled on Dec. 2, 2022.

H/T Steve Fortson for the heads up!

 

David Cenciotti is a journalist based mostly in Rome, Italy. He’s the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of many world’s most well-known and browse army aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for main worldwide magazines, together with Air Forces Month-to-month, Fight Plane, and plenty of others, protecting aviation, protection, conflict, business, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown a number of fight planes with totally different air forces. He’s a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Drive, a non-public pilot and a graduate in Pc Engineering. He has written 5 books and contributed to many extra ones.



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