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B-2s arrive at Andersen AFB

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  • By Staff Reports
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
More than 240 Airmen assigned to the 393rd Bomb Squadron, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., arrived on Andersen recently to support the deployment of B-2 Spirit aircraft as part of the continuous bomber presence here.

The Airmen and aircraft replaced the service members and the B-52 Stratofortresses deployed from the 20th Bomb Squadron, Barksdale AFB, La.

Andersen AFB has had bombers present on its runway since 2004, the year the CBP mission began.

The B-2's stealth characteristics give it the unique ability to penetrate an enemy's most sophisticated defenses and threaten its most valued and heavily defended targets. The bomber's capability to penetrate air defenses and threaten effective retaliation provides a strong effective deterrent and combat force well into the 21st century.

The B-2's low observability is derived from a combination of reduced infrared, acoustic, electromagnetic, visual and radar signatures. These signatures make it difficult for even sophisticated defensive systems to detect, track and engage the B-2. Many aspects of the low-observability process remain classified; however, the B-2's composite materials, special coatings and flying-wing design all contribute to its "stealthiness."

The B-2s join forces with F-22 Raptors deployed from the 90th Fighter Squadron, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, as part of the theater security package. The tandem of premier airframes creates a formidable alliance supporting Andersen AFB's mission within the Pacific region. This is the second pairing of these airframes for this mission.

The first B-2 was publicly displayed on Nov. 22, 1988, when it was rolled out of its hangar at Air Force Plant 42, Palmdale, Calif. Its first flight was July 17, 1989. The B-2 Combined Test Force, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., is responsible for flight testing the engineering, manufacturing and development of the B-2.

Whiteman AFB, Mo., is the only operational base for the B-2. The first aircraft, the Spirit of Missouri, was delivered Dec. 17, 1993. Depot maintenance responsibility for the B-2 is performed by Air Force contractor support and is managed at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker AFB, Okla.

The combat effectiveness of the B-2 was proved in Operation Allied Force, where it was responsible for destroying 33 percent of all Serbian targets in the first eight weeks, by flying nonstop to Kosovo from its home base in Missouri and back. In support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the B-2 flew one of its longest missions to date from Whiteman to Afghanistan and back. The B-2 completed its first-ever combat deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, flying 22 sorties from a forward operating location as well as 27 sorties from Whiteman AFB and releasing more than 1.5 million pounds of munitions. The aircraft received full operational capability status in December 2003. On Feb. 1, 2009, the Air Force's newest command, Air Force Global Strike Command, assumed responsibility for the B-2 from Air Combat Command.