Air Force says Whiteman AFB will house the new B-21 bomber
NEW BLOOMFIELD —
The Air Force announced Monday that the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base in west-central Missouri will be the home to the new B-21 Raider, the replacement for the aging B-2 bombers currently in use.
"If the force structure we have proposed is supported by the Congress, bases that have bombers now will have bombers in the future," according to an Air Force press release.
U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill called the assignment of the new bomber to Whiteman a "vote of confidence" in the base. "Whiteman Air Force Base is a critical element of the nation's ability to project power anywhere in the world at any time," she said.
The economic impact of the B-2 stealth bomber being housed at Whiteman has been significant. According to the New York Times, the Air Force Spent more than $475 million in the early 1990s to build roads and other infrastructure necessary to support the B-2. The base pours an estimated $327 million annually into the local and regional economy.
The Air Force said the B-21 will be the backbone of the American strategic bomber fleet. Plans are to begin rolling out the first B-21s in the mid 2020's and they should remain in service until about 2050.