Earlier this week, one of the total 20 B-2 Spirit bombers in existence, rolled off the runaway after making an emergency landing during a training session. Fortunately, the pilot and co-pilot didn’t sustain any injuries but it has already triggered FAA Flight restrictions and an investigation by Air Force Global Strike Command.
The accident took place at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri where the B-2 “had an in-flight malfunction during a training mission” and made an emergency landing at 12:30 in the morning. Whiteman, home of the 509th Bomb Wing, is one of the only two units which is flying the B-2 Spirit Bomber. The Air Force declined to comment on the damage sustained if any, by the aircraft and would normally wrap up the investigation under the 30-day period. Till then, the B-2 force will have to make do with only 19 aircraft.
The B-2 Spirit bomber is a rarity in the world which was first unveiled in 1988. In the start, the number of purchases B-2 bombers was supposed to be 132 which was cut down to only 21 after the Cold War and budget issues. Sadly, one B-2 crashed on the island of Guam in 2008, which left 20 in the B-2 force. Now it seems like that number might decrease by one once again if the aircraft sustained heavy damage during the accident but it’s too soon to say yet.
By the late 2020s, the B-2 is expected to be replaced by the upcoming B-21 Raider bomber. Although most details about the much-anticipated aircraft are still confidential, the Air Force has confirmed the shape of the aircraft which is a similar V-shaped, tailless design but only two-thirds the size of the original B-2.