The US Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) has directed to temporarily halt all the operational activities of the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber fleet.

The announcement comes after a US Air Force (USAF) B-2 aircraft experienced an in-flight malfunction on 10 December.

The aircraft was conducting its routine operations and was damaged on the Whiteman Air Force Base’s (AFB) runway in Missouri, US, soon after performing a successful emergency landing.

According to the USAF, the aircraft caught fire, which was later extinguished by the air base’s fire department upon landing.

The aircraft was not carrying any munitions onboard and none of the aircrew members were injured during the incident.

Following the latest AFGSC’s orders, Whiteman AFB has imposed a safety stand-down to carry out the investigation associated with the incident.

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The USAF said that the B-2 fleet will resume its operations if the commander-in-chief requires the aircraft to fulfil any other missions.

The safety investigation boards have already started conducting an extensive inspection to assess and discover the root cause of the recent incident.

The board comprises of a team of specialists to provide the necessary technical expertise to prevent the repetition of any such accidents in future.

Once the safety checks and official investigation are complete, the B-2 fleet will return to operations.

Currently, the Whiteman AFB runway is closed, and the teams are working to clear the debris to re-open the runway for operations.

509th Bomb Wing commander colonel Daniel Diehl said: “We are exercising due diligence to ensure the continued safety of our airmen and our aircraft.

“Team Whiteman remains the cornerstone of national security. We are ready and prepared to answer our nation’s call.”