Pentagon seeks to reassure after Air Drive grounds complete B-2 bomber fleet

The Pentagon on Tuesday insisted it has “a selection of capabilities at its disposal” after the Air Drive final week grounded its complete fleet of B-2 stealth bombers. 

The aircrafts’ grounding, which got here after an emergency touchdown and hearth on Dec. 10 at Whiteman Air Drive Base in Missouri, is important as a result of the stealth bomber, together with the B-52 Stratofortress, makes up the air arm of the U.S. nuclear triad. 

A number of B-2s from the fleet, which incorporates fewer than 20 planes, have lately been deployed to Europe in addition to the Indo-Pacific in a present of pressure.  

“The Division of Protection, to incorporate the Air Drive, has quite a lot of capabilities at its disposal, significantly in the case of our strategic bomber fleet,” Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder informed reporters.

He pointed to the B-52 fleet, which he mentioned offers a “redundant functionality” to the B-2, including that he’s “assured that we proceed to take care of the bomber functionality that we have to deter adversaries and if essential, interact in conduct.”

He later mentioned that the grounding doesn’t make the U.S. weak in any manner. 

“On any given day at any given time, there may be going to be plane, ships, forces on the bottom accessible to confront any menace that we could have wherever it could pop up. So no vulnerabilities right now,” he mentioned. 

The Air Drive first ordered a B-2 stand-down to examine the complete fleet after “an in-flight malfunction throughout routine operations” prompted an emergency touchdown and subsequent hearth on the runway at Whiteman Air Drive Base, in keeping with an announcement final week from the 509th Bomb Wing. 

The incident prompted the bottom’s runway to shut and the Air Drive to drag B-2s from performing flyovers on the 2023 Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Sport, to get replaced by the B-1 Lancer. 

“Our primary concern is the protection and safety of our personnel and fleet. We deeply remorse having to make this resolution so near the occasion, however we’re dedicated to returning to Pasadena in 2024,” 509th Bomb Wing commander Air Drive Col. Daniel Diehl mentioned in a separate assertion.  

The B-2, first utilized in 1989, is ready to get replaced by the B-21 Raider, launched earlier this month and scheduled to take its first flight subsequent 12 months. 

The getting older plane beforehand suffered an emergency touchdown in September 2021, additionally at Whiteman, after the hydraulics system failed and its touchdown gear collapsed.  

“It’s necessary to keep in mind that these plane, whether or not it’s B-2s, B-52s, F-22, F-35, these are high-tech superior plane which might be working at very excessive ranges of efficiency,” Ryder mentioned. 

“To not reduce the state of affairs anytime there’s a stand-down, however issues are going to interrupt and we’re going to repair them and we’re going to get them again within the air,” he added.