The B-2 Bomber Has More Firepower Than an Aircraft Carrier

Kris Osborn

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Key Point: “The B-2 is one of the most game-changing aircraft ever built…and one of the most cost-effective. One B-2 can deliver the punch of an entire aircraft carrier air wing at several orders of magnitude less in operating cost and personnel,” Deptula said.

When B-2 stealth bombers attacked Serbia on the opening night of Operation Allied Force in 1999, destroyed Iraqi air defenses during 2003’s “Shock and Awe” and eliminated the Libyan fighter force in 2011 -- the attacks were all guided by highly-specialized pilots trained in stealth attack tactics.

Given the dangers of these kinds of missions, such as flying into heavy enemy ground fire from air defenses, confronting the prospect of air attacks and preparing for electronic warfare over hostile territory, B-2 pilots need to be ready. For this reason, the Air Force is working to ensure that pilots are prepared to fully leverage upgraded digital targeting technology.

“We prepare and train every single day in case we get called up tomorrow,” Lt. Col. Nicola Polidor, Commander of Detachment 5 of the 29th Training Systems Squadron, told Warrior in an interview.

While performing missions, B-2 pilots need to maintain the correct flight path, align with specific targeting intelligence and load and prepare weapons, all while manning a digital cockpit to control a wide range of additional variables at one time. Polidor, who trains future B-2 pilots at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, says Air Force pilot trainees have adjusted well to learning a seemingly overwhelming amount of new information.

“The biggest challenge for pilots is being able to manage flying for long periods of time at the same time as managing a communications suite and robust weapons package,” Polidor said.

Polidor is only the 10th female B-2 pilot in history.

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