Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Operations & Commitments), the Royal Air Force’s Air Vice-Marshal Allan Marshall, has joined the United States Air Force crew of a B-2 Spirit Bomber for a familiarisation flight at Whiteman Airforce Base, Missouri.

The flight was part of a visit that AVM Marshall is conducting to gain a better understanding of the role of US Strategic Command and the B-2 stealth bomber’s capabilities to penetrate an adversary’s most sophisticated defences.

During the visit the AVM was hosted by Colonel Keith Butler USAF, the 509th Bomb Wing commander.

AVM Marshall said: “It was a privilege to experience, first hand, the impressive capability of the B-2 Bomber and to meet the highly professional US personnel who ensure the readiness of the aircraft and wider Global Strike Command. The visit provided an opportunity to increase my understanding of how the B-2 and other USAF Global Strike Command capabilities fulfil the US Strategic Command Mission, and to reinforce the links between US Strategic Command and the Ministry of Defence.”

During the visit the AVM also had the opportunity to meet Major General Jason Armagost USAF, the commander of the USAF 8th Air Force. The famous 8th Air Force was originally formed as the United States Army Air Force 8th Air Force during World War Two.

It was then based in the UK to conduct the strategic daylight bombing campaign of Germany, while the RAF’s Bomber Command was carrying out the night-time element of this round the clock operation.

Col Butler said: “It was an honour for Team Whiteman to host AVM Marshall and demonstrate the capabilities of the world’s premiere stealth bomber. The UK and the RAF have been important strategic partners and staunch allies of the US for many years, even hosting Bomber Task Force Missions in the past. This visit strengthens our partnership and furthers our mutual goal of strategic deterrence.”

Tom has spent the last 13 years working in the defence industry, specifically military and commercial shipbuilding. His work has taken him around Europe and the Far East, he is currently based in Scotland.
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Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_755022)
8 months ago

Lucky pilot. One of the few to allowed near a B2.

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_755026)
8 months ago

New black buck Mission 🇺🇸

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_755030)
8 months ago

Would love the RAF to return to a heavy bomber force but with smart munitions and cruise missiles it makes it fairly unnecessary. Just as long as you’ve got enough smart munitions and don’t need to carpet bomb an area ever again.

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_755035)
8 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Bomber Command long gone sadly ,still smart munitions and cruise missiles is how it is done theses days like you say 👍 🇬🇧

Oli G
Oli G (@guest_755040)
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

It would be good if we could get a squadron ~ 12 or so of the US future B-21’s – they’re shaping up to be a fair bit cheaper than b-2’s and with large orders from the USA, UK and even Australia that would leave us with a great penetrative strike and a platform to launch large numbers of cruise missiles – freeing up typhoon, f-35 and tempest for air dominance missions. We could base them at recently closed RAF scampton – the runway is long enough for b-21 and it used to hold Vulcans

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_755042)
8 months ago
Reply to  Oli G

At $692 million each or £567 million pounds evena squadron of 12 aircraft would be very expensive. For £7 billion we could really sort out the hitting power of the RAF by purchasing large numbers of cruise missiles and possibly a batch of 24 more typhoons with latest radar or push Tempest through to production.
I sadly can’t see the RAF affording the B21s unless an emergency war budget is provided.

grizzler
grizzler (@guest_755058)
8 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Yeah maybe true …but how cool would the B21 look in RAF roundels 🙂

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_755144)
8 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Another 24 Typhoons would be great ,there again it’s not just Aircraft it’s pilots .Didn’t mean to sound like Air Vice marshal Downing 🤗 🇬🇧

John Hartley
John Hartley (@guest_755044)
8 months ago
Reply to  Oli G

I still have a fantasy of the RAF having one long range bombing squadron (617?), but I think numbers would be in the C-17/P-8 range, so not 12, but perhaps 8 or 9. Sadly, the magic money tree is down to a stump.

FieldLander
FieldLander (@guest_755071)
8 months ago
Reply to  Oli G

Ha, ha…..

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_755081)
8 months ago
Reply to  Oli G

Scampton is a shell compared to the money that would be required to put a Sqn of B21 there. A look at what was spent at Fairford to enable it to host a B2 det gives an idea. The while place would need a rebuild costing billions above the price of the aircraft.

Meirion X
Meirion X (@guest_755099)
8 months ago
Reply to  Oli G

The MoD is unlikely to procure B-21. A much cheaper option is to procure Kawasaki P-1 and fit them out for stand-off munitions, JSM, Spear, S.S, Smart Glider, etc. Or thr MoD just procure some B 737’s and out fit them to carry stand-off munitions.

Last edited 8 months ago by Meirion X
Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_755139)
8 months ago
Reply to  Oli G

I would be happy with B1 Lancers to be honest never mind B-21s but has mosts guy’s know on UKDJ never going to happen my friend ,still nice thought. 👍 🇬🇧

grizzler
grizzler (@guest_755041)
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Bomber Harris would turn in his grave .
I still think they have a place but unfortunately as you say long gone….and no money for what we have decided we need never mind what we’ve decided we don’t.

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_755145)
8 months ago
Reply to  grizzler

💰True

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_755133)
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Wny do the Americans think otherwise?

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_755148)
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The USA always think big , numbers etc there have big bank we have small bank . 🤗 🇺🇸 😞🇬🇧

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_755230)
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

So the only reason they have bombers is because they can afford them. Not the best reason to me.

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_755332)
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Not at all mate just having a bit of fun we need to on here from time to time good for morale 🤗 wouldn’t you agree ? .The USA have there way of doing thing’s and we have ours wether right or wrong 👍 🇬🇧🍺

Sean
Sean (@guest_755649)
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I am x united state Air Force all the money the UK took from other countries in slavery time you should be able to have a strong military your aircraft carriers a joke in battle you need the United States military to protect British navy

grizzler
grizzler (@guest_755923)
8 months ago
Reply to  Sean

yawn

Graham M
Graham M (@guest_756091)
8 months ago
Reply to  Sean

Sean, what money did the UK (and before it the GB and before it the English) Government take from other countries in slavery time? The British traded fairly with local people in all countries including those not in the Slave Triangle – the East India Company being an example – we did not steal the local people’s money – mostly they did not have any – trade was largely done by barter. Do you think we stole money from some established indigenous bank? Which banks would those be? In which countries? Where is your evidence? The fact of the matter… Read more »

Graham M
Graham M (@guest_756092)
8 months ago
Reply to  Sean

Sean,
How exactly does the United States military protect the ‘British navy’. You must have a whole host of excellent examples, surely – or a link to a reference?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_756251)
8 months ago
Reply to  Sean

Strange for an American to not know to use the term Royal Navy?

DaSaint
DaSaint (@guest_755851)
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

No, because you have to get to the point that you can launch a cruise missile. The UK has the benefit of being next door to Europe. The US does not. In effect, it’s an island too, with 2 major oceans separating it from anything else for thousands of miles. Long range strike aircraft are needed, not optional, as they are on the continent. European continent, that is.

Graham M
Graham M (@guest_756070)
8 months ago
Reply to  DaSaint

Thanks, good point. I guess manned bombers now don’t even attempt to get through sophisticated enemy air defences – hence your comment about stand-off attack with cruise missiles?

Last edited 8 months ago by Graham M
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_755331)
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

They need them to be able to seriously threaten the Russian and Chinese mainland. And anywhere else on the planet that a B2 / B52 could fly to.
In the Cold War the Soviet Union bankrupted itself trying to defend against SAC.

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_755757)
8 months ago

Well aware 🙄

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_756252)
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Really? I had to say as it wasn’t clear.

Netking
Netking (@guest_755156)
8 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

In reality even stand off weapons have a limit on how far they can reach, mostly due to treaty limitations, and if you see yourself in a conflict over the vast expanses of the pacific, you need a penetrating, survivable aircraft with significant range and large enough to carry these stand off weapons potentially inside an enemy’s AD bubble. The USAF is working towards a loadout of 36 lrasm on the B-1. That’s 36 anti ship missiles on one aircraft. If you imagine a flight of six of these aircraft and what it could do to an enemy’s surface fleet… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Netking
Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_755196)
8 months ago
Reply to  Netking

Good Lord 36 missiles ,back in the day that’s like 8x Buccaneers or so .Big fan of B1s only if 🤔 👍

Netking
Netking (@guest_755203)
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

I think the B1 is my favorite aircraft currently flying. Breathtaking to watch them takeoff.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDu3giiz2fI

Chris
Chris (@guest_755285)
8 months ago
Reply to  Netking

While the B-1 is fun to watch, it is planned to be replaced by the B-21, along with the B-2.

Netking
Netking (@guest_755403)
8 months ago
Reply to  Chris

Yes that is true but he usaf have been intentionally vague about when that will actually happen. Only saying that the B1 specifically will be retired after the B-21 is ready. In all likelihood they will be serving for another two decades.

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_755420)
8 months ago
Reply to  Netking

Took a look thanks good video 👍

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins (@guest_755033)
8 months ago

And not for the first time!

Aug. 8, 2006
“Royal Air Force Squadron Leader David Arthurton is a pilot with the 13th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, flying the B-2 Spirit bomber with the “Grim Reapers” as part of the RAF Personnel Exchange Program. He is the first and only foreign exchange pilot to fly the B-2 as part of this program, and is the only foreign officer to fly the B-2.”

LINK

Duker
Duker (@guest_755284)
8 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Became an AVM back in 2020
Could still be around in the MOD

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins (@guest_755367)
8 months ago
Reply to  Duker

Quite possibly!

LINK

geoff.Roach
geoff.Roach (@guest_755043)
8 months ago

I don’t suppose there’s another seat going?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_755084)
8 months ago

The USAF Stealth program has had exchange pilots from the RAF and the USN for years. Way back to the early to mid 80s when Jag pilots went to the F117A.

Graham M
Graham M (@guest_756071)
8 months ago

Are all the F117As scrapped now?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_756087)
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Many are stored, either at Groom or Tonopah, forget which, but seen photos of them crammed in a hanger.

Others I believe are still flying on various testing duties, or were a few years ago.

Tonapah, where the first operational wing was located in the mid 80s, is a place to watch. Some Interesting stuff said to be located there in the same hangers that were built for the F117 program.

Graham M
Graham M (@guest_756240)
8 months ago

Thanks. Some speculate that developmental UCAVs and foreign GBAD systems might be held there.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_756245)
8 months ago
Reply to  Graham M

Yes, is read about the UCAVs. Though also speculation that the 1st operational examples would be there, just as the Stealth Fighter 35 or so years before.

The GBADs are a no brainer as Nellis range uses them. The space they have for this sort if stuff is amazing, compared to our small country.

Nat White
Nat White (@guest_755189)
8 months ago

Interesting article, whilst nothing would surprise me in todays political and strategic climate, and reading between the lines, could it be a distant, albeit unlikely, but not impossible to conceive idea, that Whitehall is testing the water with regards to steering the UK’s future FCAS Program towards the direction of the B-21 Raider, as an alternative to the current expensive largely indigenously developed Platform. Hey, its just a thought, what does anyone else think?

Meirion X
Meirion X (@guest_755248)
8 months ago
Reply to  Nat White

It’s not going to happen, that B21 will substitute for air defence!
The UK’s indigenous future Tempest program, is to replace the supersonic Typoon which it’s role is mainly to defend the UK’s sky’s. A subsonic B21 would be usless at this role.

Last edited 8 months ago by Meirion X
Duker
Duker (@guest_755509)
8 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

The Typhoon is a swing role design, meaning it can complete air defence as well as strike missions …at the same time.

Chris
Chris (@guest_755286)
8 months ago
Reply to  Nat White

All of the USAF Bomber programs (b1, b2, b52) have had UK pilots on exchange for many decades.

FOSTERSMAN
FOSTERSMAN (@guest_755479)
8 months ago

Wasn’t it the other day the US was suggesting that we return the ability to launch nuclear bombs by air?
Could the stars be aligning?

Duker
Duker (@guest_755511)
8 months ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

That would nuclear bombs like they did in the days of the Tornado or what the F35 can do now
The RAF doesnt currently have that capability at all. No bombs in store, no training etc

Meirion X
Meirion X (@guest_755541)
8 months ago
Reply to  Duker

👍

grizzler
grizzler (@guest_755925)
8 months ago
Reply to  Duker

F35A only though right – not F35B/C?

Ron Stateside
Ron Stateside (@guest_755850)
8 months ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

On this side of the pond for sure. The B21 first and foremost was designed to be affordable through production mass. At least 100 were planned to replace only 65 B-1s and B-2s. The competition was between Lockheed and Northrup. Since Lockheed have all the current US fighter programs, and Northrup developed the B-2, it was obvious Northrup would win the competition to avoid a Lockheed monopoly on advanced US fighter and bomber contracts in the future. I only bring this up because I bought Northrup and made the family some money on it ($160/320). Anyway, I think in 2016… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Ron Stateside
DaSaint
DaSaint (@guest_755853)
8 months ago

The flight was part of a visit that AVM Marshall is conducting to gain a better understanding of the role of US Strategic Command and the B-2 stealth bomber’s capabilities to penetrate an adversary’s most sophisticated defenses. This could have been ascertained via phone calls, video calls and strategy meetings. The only reason you take the flight is if there’s a chance that you may want to introduce similar capabilities. I think that as part of AUKUS, both the RAF and RAAF are considering purchases of the B-21 or maybe the even some of the B-1 and/or B-2 fleet. Watch… Read more »

Graham M
Graham M (@guest_756072)
8 months ago
Reply to  DaSaint

I don’t think you get a real feel for a unique capability unless you take the flight. There is no way we can afford to introduce a fleet of stealth bombers – and I doubt we have an operational need for such a fleet. The AVM wants to have knowledge of his Ally’s capability – I can understand that. If he is in a NATO post he may find that info useful.