The Warzone/The Drive: The Air Force Can’t Say What It Plans To Do With Its Retired B-2 Bombers
The goal is to have them all out of service by 2032, but putting them in storage or destroying them could be complicated and costly.
The U.S. Air Force’s new B-21 Raider stealth bomber is steadily moving closer to entering production and eventually replacing the existing B-2 Spirits. At the same time, with plans to have all of the older flying wing bombers retired within 15 years, the service will have to figure out soon how it will store or dispose of those aircraft in a way that is practical, safe, secure, and meets the demands of any existing or future arms control deals.
At present, the Air Force has 20 B-2 bombers and all but one of these are situated at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. At any one time, only a fraction of the small fleet is ready for operational missions. But if the B-21 program remains on schedule, the B-2 fleet should begin heading into retirement in the late 2020s and could be completely out of service by 2032, per an official “bomber vector” plan that emerged publicly in February 2018.
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WNU Editor: That is a lot of expensive hardware being retired.