Working Together At Whiteman Air Force Base
Airmen of the 509th Maintenance Group (MXG) and Missouri National Guard assigned to the 131st Maintenance Squadron work together at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to maintain multiple B-2 Spirit stealth bombers.
These experts ensure our stealth bombers remain “under the radar” or “low observable” during crucial missions abroad. The maintenance is referred to as “LO Maintenance”.
For military missions requiring an aircraft that can penetrate foreign anti-aircraft defenses without detection our Air Force utilizes the B-2 Spirit, a heavy penetration strategic bomber.
Maintenance Needed After Every Flight
You may be surprised to learn that B-2 Spirit aircraft require maintenance needs after every flight. Materials used for the aircraft’s stealth capabilities is extremely delicate.
Technicians typically spend 30 minutes to 12 hours performing routine LO maintenance on each B-2 Spirit after every flight. If any panels on the aircraft need to be accessed, LO materials are removed and reapplied after maintenance work is completed.
With all of the maintenance needed to keep the B-2 Spirit airborne is may seem like a daunting task, but the advantage of stealth technology overshadows those maintenance requirements.
Senior Airman Austin K. Choate, a low-observable maintenance technician assigned to the 509th Maintenance Group, poses for a portrait on Oct. 24, 2018 at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Choate performs regular maintenance to ensure the fidelity of the B-2 Stealth Bomber’s surface coatings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)
Staff Sgt. Josh Batschke, a low-observable maintenance craftsman assigned to the 131st Maintenance Squadron, Missouri Air National Guard, prepares maintenance labels on Oct. 24, 2018 at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. Batschke and the other LO maintainers ensure perform regular maintenance on the B-2 Stealth Bomber to ensure the fidelity of its protective coatings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)
The inspection tool kit of the signature diagnostics section holds some of the equipment the technicians use to inspect the B-2 Stealth Bomber after various types of maintenance to ensure the fidelity of the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)
The low-observable maintenance section of the 509th Maintenance Group and their total force Missouri Air National Guard partners from the 131st Maintenance Squadron use specific tools to ensure a secure seal of the surface tape on the B-2 Stealth Bomber. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kayla White)