A Better B-2 Bomber Measure

There was a disconnect between the paper mission capable rate and the true MC rate for the B-2 fleet, say Air Combat Command officials. The Fiscal 2005 MC rate was a dismal 30.5 percent, yet the B-2 folks at Whiteman AFB, Mo., managed to fly their entire 6,000-hour flying program, training all aircrews and flying the “longest sustained deployment” to date, Col. Bob Dulong, 509th Maintenance Group commander, told the Whiteman Spirit Times. Dulong said the B-2 fleet and its maintainers have matured, making it possible for ACC to revise the minimum essential subsystem list to reflect the bomber’s real maintenance and operational status. Now, the MC rate calculation also includes an operator’s view of what is acceptable for mission success. Whiteman can provide B-2s that are fully capable, partially capable, or not mission capable, depending on the nature of each mission. For instance, a not-mission-capable B-2 is not suitable for a wartime mission, but the wing can fly it for aircrew training.