Air Force B-2 bombers grounded after emergency landing

Midwest

(NewsNation) — The entire fleet of B-2 stealth bombers was grounded by the Air Force after an emergency landing and fire earlier this month at a base in Missouri.

This means Whiteman Air Force Base will not participate in the 2023 Rose Parade or Rose Bowl Game flyovers. Instead, Whiteman said in a news release, B-1B Lancer bombers from Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota will participate in the events.

“Our number one concern is the safety and security of our personnel and fleet. We deeply regret having to make this decision so close to the event, but we are committed to returning to Pasadena in 2024,” U.S. Air Force Col. Daniel Diehl, 509th Bomb Wing commander, said in a statement. “Although we are not participating in this flyover, we remain steadfast in our commitment to answer our nation’s call.”

This comes after a Dec.10 incident where a bomber experienced an in-flight malfunction and caught fire during routine operations at Whiteman Air Force Base. There were no injuries, and the fire was extinguished.

While the B-2s are grounded, the entire fleet will be inspected, 509th Bomb Wing spokeswoman Air Force Master Sgt. Beth Del Vecchio said.

There are fewer than 20 stealth bombers in the entire fleet, according to the Associated Press., and the aircraft provides the air leg of the nation’s nuclear triad.

Currently, there is no speculated end date for the B-2s’ grounding, Del Vecchio said.

“Every incident is unique, and Team Whiteman is currently evaluating the incident and how to mitigate future risk,” she said in an email to NewsNation. “Normal operations will resume at the conclusion of the safety pause.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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