A B-2, serial number 89-0129, known as the “Spirit of Georgia,” made an emergency landing at MacDill AFB, Fla., following in-flight avionics and communications failures on April 23, officials announced on June 10. The B-2 pilots established communications with MacDill via civilian air traffic controllers at Tampa International Airport, but were unable to verify whether the aircraft’s landing gear were down. “We had all thought this was going to be a pretty easy emergency landing request until that moment,” MacDill air traffic controller SSgt. Charles Hildreth said in the release. “Now, we had a B-2 that might have to make a crash landing on our runway,” he added. The B-2 executed a low pass allowing controllers to verify its undercarriage was safely down, and base civil engineers were able to remove the runway arresting system in less than a quarter of the usual time, avoiding “catastrophic damage to the aircraft,” Hildreth said.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.