Repair of two $2.1 billion B-2 Spirit nuclear bombers will take several years - entire squadron out of service
The U.S. Air Force's bomber squadron is temporarily out of service after the second incident with the B-2 Spirit in two years. It will take several years to repair the strategic aircraft.
Here's What We Know
Last September, the strategic bomber went into a skid during a landing at Whiteman Base and caught the ground with its wings. A week ago, another B-2 caught fire after an emergency landing.
The Air Force closed the runway. The squadron is temporarily out of service and unable to perform combat missions. This is because there is only one runway at Whiteman Base. The recovery team is working around the clock to get the military facility back up and running as quickly as possible.
The 509th Bomber Wing is based at Whiteman Base. It is the only U.S. Air Force unit with $2.1 billion worth of B-2 Spirit nuclear stealth bombers.
Northrop Grumman developed the aircraft at the end of the last century. Initially, the U.S. wanted 120 bombers, which were intended for strikes against the USSR (in case of conflict). After the collapse of the USSR, the program was cut. Northrop Grumman produced only 21 bombers. The last one rolled off the assembly line in 2000. The U.S. significantly reduced the number of strategic bombers - only 20 B-2 Spirit, 76 B-52 Stratofortress and 45 B-1B Lancer remain, and production ended 20 years ago since.
In 2008, during a scheduled flight from Guam to Kansas City, the plane crashed. The crew members survived. It was the first and only crash involving Spirit, and also the most expensive in aviation history. The damage was estimated at $1.4 billion.
Thus, the total number of bombers was reduced to 20 units. The U.S. now has 18 "working" planes. To repair the B-2 Spirit, which crashed last year, will cost $10 million. How much it will cost to restore the second plane is still unknown. The U.S. says the work will last for several years.
In the next few years, the U.S. will begin to withdraw from the B-2 Spirit, as the production of the B-21 Raider, which was created with a view not to Russia but to China, will start. The new generation bomber will cost less. In addition, the U.S. Air Force will be able to send the Raider to other countries, which cannot be done with the Spirit due to difficulties in maintenance.
Source: Military Watch
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