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Plant 42 gears up “Spirit of Pennsylvania” for next mission

The 419th Flight Test Squadron's Maj. Matthew Gray, Jason DiGiacomo and Maj. Dustin Duke pose for a photo in front of the B-2 "Spirit of Pennsylvania" after it arrived to Edwards Air Force Base, California, Oct. 2. (Air Force photo by Kyle Brasier)

The 419th Flight Test Squadron's Maj. Matthew Gray, Jason DiGiacomo and Maj. Dustin Duke pose for a photo in front of the B-2 "Spirit of Pennsylvania" after it arrived to Edwards Air Force Base, California, Oct. 2. (Air Force photo by Kyle Brasier)

The “Spirit of Pennsylvania” B-2 bomber arrives at Edwards Air Force Base, California, Oct. 2. The aircraft recently finished a programmed depot maintenance (PDM) at the Northrop Grumman at nearby Plant 42. "The Pennsylvania" is now assigned to the 419th Flight Test Squadron, as a member of the Global Power Combined Test Force, where it will be the base’s new test platform for B-2 flight testing. (Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

The “Spirit of Pennsylvania” B-2 bomber arrives at Edwards Air Force Base, California, Oct. 2. The aircraft recently finished a programmed depot maintenance (PDM) at the Northrop Grumman at nearby Plant 42. "The Pennsylvania" is now assigned to the 419th Flight Test Squadron, as a member of the Global Power Combined Test Force, where it will be the base’s new test platform for B-2 flight testing. (Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

The “Spirit of Pennsylvania” B-2 bomber arrives at Edwards Air Force Base, California, Oct. 2. The aircraft recently finished a programmed depot maintenance (PDM) at the Northrop Grumman at nearby Plant 42. "The Pennsylvania" is now assigned to the 419th Flight Test Squadron, as a member of the Global Power Combined Test Force, where it will be the base’s new test platform for B-2 flight testing. (Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

The “Spirit of Pennsylvania” B-2 bomber arrives at Edwards Air Force Base, California, Oct. 2. The aircraft recently finished a programmed depot maintenance (PDM) at the Northrop Grumman at nearby Plant 42. "The Pennsylvania" is now assigned to the 419th Flight Test Squadron, as a member of the Global Power Combined Test Force, where it will be the base’s new test platform for B-2 flight testing. (Air Force photo by Giancarlo Casem)

The 419th Flight Test Squadron's Maj. Dustin Duke and Maj. Matthew Gray pose with the B-2 "Spirit of Pennsylvania" after its arrival to Edwards Air Force Base, California, Oct. 2. (Air Force photo by Kyle Brasier)

The 419th Flight Test Squadron's Maj. Dustin Duke and Maj. Matthew Gray pose with the B-2 "Spirit of Pennsylvania" after its arrival to Edwards Air Force Base, California, Oct. 2. (Air Force photo by Kyle Brasier)

The “Spirit of Pennsylvania” B-2 bomber during a previous programmed depot maintenance stay at Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, Jan. 26, 2010. The aircraft is currently finishing up its current PDM at the Northrop Grumman facility at the plant before flying to its new home with the 419th Flight Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California. (Photo courtesy of Alan Radecki/Northrop Grumman)

The “Spirit of Pennsylvania” B-2 bomber during a previous programmed depot maintenance stay at Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, Jan. 26, 2010. The aircraft is currently finishing up its current PDM at the Northrop Grumman facility at the plant before flying to its new home with the 419th Flight Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California. (Photo courtesy of Alan Radecki/Northrop Grumman)

A B-2 Spirit stealth bomber takes off from Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, April 12, 2019. The Air Force’s B-2 fleet undergoes undergo programmed depot maintenance every nine years at the Northrop Grumman facility at Plant 42. (Photo courtesy of Alan Radecki/Northrop Grumman)

A B-2 Spirit stealth bomber takes off from Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, April 12, 2019. The Air Force’s B-2 fleet undergoes undergo programmed depot maintenance every nine years at the Northrop Grumman facility at Plant 42. (Photo courtesy of Alan Radecki/Northrop Grumman)

A B-2 Spirit stealth bomber flies through the skies above Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, April 12, 2019. The Air Force’s B-2 fleet undergoes undergo programmed depot maintenance every nine years at the Northrop Grumman facility at Plant 42. (Photo courtesy of Alan Radecki/Northrop Grumman)

A B-2 Spirit stealth bomber flies through the skies above Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, April 12, 2019. The Air Force’s B-2 fleet undergoes undergo programmed depot maintenance every nine years at the Northrop Grumman facility at Plant 42. (Photo courtesy of Alan Radecki/Northrop Grumman)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, California --

The “Spirit of Pennsylvania” B-2 arrived at its new home at Edwards Air Force Base, California, Oct. 2, where it will serve as the 412th Test Wing’s test platform for B-2 flight testing.

The “Spirit of Pennsylvania” began its journey to Edwards in 2017, when the aircraft returned home to Unites States Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California, where it was originally built, to serve as a test jet and undergo programmed depot maintenance (PDM) at Northrop Grumman.

“The B-2 PDM cycle is an end-to-end overhaul that ensures each B-2 is mission ready to serve the needs of the U.S. Air Force,” said Benjamin Davies, vice president and B-2 program manager, Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems. “Our team dedicated countless hours to the Spirit of Pennsylvania and we are thrilled to deliver it to our partners at Edwards Air Force Base where it will support their test mission in our local skies for years to come.”

B-2s undergo PDM every nine years, and this was the Pennsylvania’s third PDM cycle. During its PDM, the aircraft received a complete restoration of its airframe and underwent exhaustive inspections of all electrical and mechanical systems. A large part of the statement of work performed by Northrop Grumman was the restoration of the Low Observable System on the aircraft that included a complete removal and re-application of its radar-evading materials.  

The historic Plant 42 is the birthplace of all the Air Force’s B-2 Spirits, and where the first-ever Spirit conducted its maiden flight more than 30 years ago on July 17, 1989. It is also where they all conduct PDM services under the auspices of the aircraft’s manufacturer, Northrop Grumman.

Following its PDM, the aircraft conducted a short flight from Plant 42 to Edwards where it has been assigned to the 419th Flight Test Squadron. As a member of the Global Power Combined Test Force, the Spirit of Pennsylvania will be the base’s new test platform for B-2 flight testing.

Besides the B-2 Spirit, the Global Power CTF utilizes the two other bombers in the Air Force inventory: the B-1B Lancer and B-52 Stratofortress. The CTF is the lead organization in flight testing avionics, mechanical, weapons and electronic warfare upgrades to the bomber fleet.

 

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