The Global Strike Command has officially resumed flights of B-2 Spirit strategic bombers. Aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons have not been taken into the sky since the end of 2022.
What is known
The US Air Force received 21 B-2 Spirit bombers from Northrop Grumman. A few years ago, one aircraft was destroyed, in connection with which the fleet was reduced to 20 stealth aircraft.
Thomas Bussiere, former head of Global Strike Command declaredthat the specialists have taken all necessary actions for the safe return of the B-2 to full-fledged flights. The nuclear bombers remained on the ground for more than five months. The first flight after a pause took place on May 22, 2203.
In the first half of December 2022, flights were stopped following a B-2 crash at Whiteman Base, Missouri. After an emergency landing, the plane caught fire. The pilot was not injured, and the fire was extinguished, but the cause was not specified.
The B-2 is the only stealth aircraft in service with the US Air Force that can carry nuclear weapons. The B-52H Stratofortress does not have stealth technology, and the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II fighter is only being certified to carry nuclear weapons.
The cost of one B-2 Spirit bomber, taking into account inflation and the development program, is approximately $ 2.1 billion. In the future, the US Air Force will abandon all B-2s and replace them with a hundred new-generation B-21 Raider aircraft (pictured above). Full-scale production is scheduled for 2026.
Source: Flight Global