This year, Whiteman Air Force Base commemorates the 30th anniversary of the B-2 Spirit’s (s/n 82-1066 / AV-1) inaugural test flight on July 17, 1989, from Palmdale to Edwards AFB, California.
For three decades, B-2 crews have participated in five major military operations and countless training engagements. The bomber has completed missions in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and, most recently, Libya. The B-2 was also the first aircraft over Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, for which aircraft and crew hold the record for longest combat mission at 44.3 hours. The stealth bomber has been a vital component of America’s national defense and stands as a symbol of the Air Force’s global strike capabilities.
“The combination of range, payload and stealth is really what makes the B-2 unique in all these fights,” said Col. Jeffrey Schreiner, 509th Bomb Wing commander and a command pilot who is now responsible for the combat readiness of the Air Force’s only B-2 base. “Our adversaries don’t know when a conflict is going to heat up or when Whiteman (AFB) is going to be called into the fight.”
B-2 expertise and dedication is shared here at Whiteman AFB following the 2008 total force integration of the 509th BW and the 131st BW, a Missouri Air National Guard unit. This shared responsibility includes training, maintenance and combat operations around the globe and is necessary for the success of this program.
“At the heart of the stealth enterprise are the men and women in uniform and civilian experts who work tirelessly to provide an asset of unmatched capability,” Schreiner said. “With their expertise and dedication, the B-2 will remain an invaluable asset to our nation for years to come.”
With its unique flying wing design and advancing avionics systems, the B-2 Spirit is more lethal and innovative today than it was 30 years ago. Airmen conduct daily testing and maintenance, long-duration training missions and readiness exercises to keep the B-2 Spirit operational. The stealth bomber is a vital component of America’s national defense and stands as a symbol of the Air Force’s global strike capabilities, 30 years from its inaugural test flight.