The first operational aircraft, christened Spirit of Missouri, was delivered to Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri on 17 December 1993. The B-2 reached initial operational capability on 1 January 1997.
The B-2 fleet is based at Whiteman AFB. Depot maintenance for the B-2 is accomplished by United States Air Force contractor support and managed at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Originally designed to deliver nuclear weapons, modern usage has shifted towards a flexible role with conventional and nuclear capability.
An Air Force maintenance crew services a B-2 at Andersen AFB, Guam, 2004.The B-2 has seen service in three separate campaigns. Its combat debut was during the Kosovo War in 1999. It was responsible for destroying 33 percent of selected Serbian bombing targets in the first eight weeks of U.S. involvement in the War. During this war, B-2s flew non-stop to Kosovo from its home base in Missouri and back. The B-2 was the first aircraft to deploy GPS satellite guided JDAM in combat use in Kosovo.
The aircraft has been used to drop bombs on Afghanistan in support of the ongoing War in Afghanistan. The B-2 flew one of its longest missions to date from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri to Afghanistan and back.
During the ongoing War in Iraq, B-2s have operated from Diego Garcia and an undisclosed "forward operating location." Other sorties in Iraq have launched from Whiteman AFB. This resulted in missions lasting over 30 hours and one mission of over 50 hours. B-2s have been used during 22 sorties from Diego Garcia as well as 27 sorties from Whiteman AFB and have released more than 1.5 million pounds of munitions.
The B-2's combat use preceded a U.S. Air Force declaration of "Full Operational Capability" in December 2003. The Pentagon's Operational Test and Evaluation 2003 Annual Report noted that the B-2's serviceability for Fiscal Year 2003 was still inadequate, mainly due to the maintainability of the B-2's Low Observable materials. The evaluation also noted that the Defensive Avionics suite also had shortcomings with pop-up threats. The B-2 has seen action in the War in Iraq, dropping 583 JDAM "Smart Bombs" in 2003.
Information excerpted from WikiPedia, the free online encyclopedia.