B-2 celebrates 20 years
The twentieth anniversary of the first flight of Northrop Grumman’s B-2A Spirit stealth bomber was celebrated at the company’s programme headquarters in Palmdale, California on July 17.
July 17: The twentieth anniversary of the first flight of Northrop Grumman’s B-2A Spirit stealth bomber was celebrated at the company’s programme headquarters in Palmdale, California, with more than a thousand Northrop Grumman employees and Air Force officials gathered together. The first aircraft, ‘Spirit of America’, lifted off for its maiden flight on July 17, 1989, the sortie lasting two hours.
"The B-2 remains one of the most iconic symbols of freedom for our nation," said Brigadier General Robert E Wheeler, USAF, Commander of the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. "Its readiness to protect America's interests anywhere in the world is a testament to the talents, courage and the daily sacrifices of the airmen who fly and maintain the fleet today." Attendees at the ceremony had an opportunity to see a B-2A in flight when ‘Spirit of New York’, based at nearby Edwards Air Force Base, passed over Palmdale as part of a training flight.
Twenty airframes remain in operation with the US Air Force – 19 combat and one flight test aircraft. All combat aircraft are based with the 509th Bomb Wing, operated by the 13th and 393rd Bomb Squadrons. The first aircraft to be delivered to the US Air Force was ‘Spirit of Missouri’ on December 17, 1993. The only B-2A to be lost in nearly 16 years of operations is 89-0127 ‘Spirit of Kansas’, which crashed in Guam on February 23, 2008.
Filed Under Military Aviation News.
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