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The following is an article from Defense Daily. Thought you guys might find it interesting.


The Northrop Grumman [NOC] B-2 stealth bomber conducted its first combat operations in Operation Allied Force over the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Secretary of Defense William Cohen said he was "very satisfied" with the performance of the B-2.

Two B-2s from the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, Mo., struck targets in the first wave of the night attacks, which are expected to continue for at least several days.

The aircraft launched from Whiteman early yesterday and dropped an estimated 32 2,000-pound Boeing [BA] GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) on undisclosed targets less than an hour after the first cruise missile strikes at about 2 p.m. EST. The two aircraft then returned to Whiteman, sources said.

The initial missile strikes reportedly consisted of more than 150 cruise missiles, a mix of Boeing Conventional Land Attack Missiles (CALCM) and Navy Raytheon [RTNA/RTNB] Tomahawks. The missiles were launched from Boeing B-52s flying from England and naval vessels in the Adriatic Sea, including the USS Philippine Sea (CG-58), the USS Gonzales (DDG-66), and as many as three attack submarines, the USS Norfolk (SSN-714), the USS Miami (SSN-755), and an unidentified British submarine.

Battle damage assessments were unavailable at press time.

As America's second stealth combat aircraft, the B-2 has been heavily criticized by opponents because of its high cost and many believed it to be a relic of the Cold War, designed to penetrate Soviet defenses and deliver nuclear weapons, using its stealth characteristics to avoid attack.

Since it entered service after the 1991 Persian Gulf War, however, it has been modified to employ conventional weapons, including near-precision weapons like the JDAM and Northrop Grumman's 4,700-pound GBU-37 with its Global Positioning System Assisted Targeting System (GATS).

With its improved capabilities, the B-2 is expected to serve beyond 2030 as part of the nation's long-range bomber force.

There are currently nine Block 30 B-2s available for operations, all assigned to the 509th at Whiteman.

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