Backbone of Deterrence: maintaining the world’s only nuclear-capable stealth bomber

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Robert E. Hicks
  • 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron

The world’s only nuclear-capable stealth bomber requires a dedicated team of U.S. Airmen to ensure it’s ready at a moment's notice for any global strike mission.   

Whiteman Air Force Base maintainers work around the clock to keep the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber operational, ensuring it can complete its mission to provide strategic nuclear and conventional deterrence anytime, anywhere.    

“Whether at home station or deployed, Airmen work 24/7, in rain, shine, or snow, to keep the B-2 in the sky and providing deterrence and assurance,” said U.S. Air Force Capt Kaylynn Harms, 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron maintenance officer.    

Whiteman AFB maintainers, both active duty and guard, deployed to Iceland as a part of the 393rd EBS in support of a B-2 bomber task force within the European theater, ensuring the B-2’s ability to fly multiple sorties as part of U.S Strategic Command’s mission to deter strategic attacks against the U.S. and our Allies.    

Despite the constantly changing work environment, maintainers from the 393rd EBS succeed time and time again at maintaining, operating, and supporting B-2 flights in foreign locations.  

“As we continue to push the envelope on where the B-2 operates, we’ve learned to plan for a full range of challenges, and work hard to ensure we are prepared for as much as possible to keep our aircraft mission capable,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Gabrielle Franze, 393rd EBS maintenance officer. “When we run into unforeseen challenges, we’ve adapted our approach to leverage the support of the host nation and other partners nearby to get what we need to get the job done.”  

The ability to maintain bomber operations outside of the U.S. supports the U.S. Air Force's concept of Agile Combat Employment by providing Airmen the opportunity to exercise their skills and training from outside of home station.  

Thanks to logistical support providing prepositioned, rapid acquisition and sustainment solutions; the 393rd EBS maintainers are able to perform many of the same functions abroad as they do back home. This flexibility keeps the B-2 ready and postured to operate from anywhere in the world, and that it remains a credible force that enhances the security and stability of Allies and partners.   

The bomber task force operation allows maintainers to exercise elements of agile combat employment enabling them to operate from any location with varying levels of capacity and support.

“Maintenance supports ACE by fulfilling roles and duties not normally included in their professional duties. We’re all hands on deck, with all Airmen ready to step up and step in,” added Harms. “Back-shop maintainers get trained on flightline tasks, specialists catch aircraft, and we are all expected to work as a team to keep the mission going.”  

393rd EBS maintainers incorporate these concepts of agile combat employment to ensure the B-2 is ready to protect and defend the U.S. and our Allies at a moment’s notice.  

Because of the hard work, dedication and flexibility of the 393rd EBS maintainers, the B-2 can continue flying and deliver on its promise to bring massive firepower to bear, in a short time, anywhere on the globe.