Streamlining B-2 Renewal

Programmed depot maintenance of the B-2 stealth bomber will become more efficient under a new schedule that Northrop Grumman has developed, said the company’s B-2 program manager, Dave Mazur, on Thursday. Speaking to reporters in Washington, D.C., Mazur said the current PDM schedule—under which each of the Air Force’s 20 B-2s gets a comprehensive overhaul every seven years—can be shrunk to a stepped program of every five and 10 years. The abbreviated five-year PDM will address items that can’t wait 10 years, like ejection seats, he said, but outer mold line and other work will now last a decade, meaning fewer trips to the depot. Mazur said the Air Force believes that the additional aircraft availability will be equivalent to adding another B-2 to the fleet. He also told the Daily Report that Northrop Grumman has developed a new aft deck that it hopes will finally resolve issues with cracks that have dogged the section for 20 years. Installation of the deck will probably occur at Whiteman AFB, Mo., home of the combat-ready B-2s, he said. Waiting to do it in PDM would probably take too long, he said.