US Air Force Temporarily Grounds B-2 Nuclear Bomber Fleet
The US Air Force Global Strike Command has announced a safety stand-down for all operations of the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber fleet.
The temporary halt follows an incident where a B-2 encountered an in-flight malfunction on December 10.
According to the command, the aircraft was damaged upon an emergency landing at a runway at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri.
The B-2 did not carry munitions and no personnel was harmed.
The base’s fire department extinguished a fire from the landing, while a team of safety investigation specialists responded to the area right after the incident.
“We’re exercising due diligence to ensure the continued safety of our Airmen and our aircraft,” 509th Bomb Wing Commander Col. Daniel Diehl stated.
“Team Whiteman remains the cornerstone of national security. We are ready and prepared to answer our nation’s call.”
Further details will be released upon the completion of the official investigation, the US Air Force Global Strike Command said.
Meanwhile, the Whiteman Air Force Base runway will reopen once the debris from the accident is cleared.
“The Department of Defense, to include the Air Force, has a variety of capabilities at its disposal, particularly when it comes to our strategic bomber fleet,” Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder emphasized during a press briefing on the incident.
“I know that our maintainers work very hard to ensure that those aircraft are available and off the ground as soon as they can.”
“…so on any given day at any given time, there is going to be aircraft, ships, forces on the ground available to confront any threat that we may have wherever it may pop up, so no vulnerabilities at this time.”