The story of when a USAF B-2 Spirit bombed Chinese Embassy in Belgrade during Operation Allied Force

The story of when a USAF B-2 Spirit bombed Chinese Embassy in Belgrade during Operation Allied Force

By Dario Leone
May 6 2024
Share this article

The B-2 Spirit

The first B-2A Spirit was publicly displayed on Nov. 22, 1988, when it was rolled out of its hangar at Air Force Plant 42, Palmdale, California. Its first flight was July 17, 1989. The B-2 Combined Test Force, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, California, is responsible for flight testing the engineering, manufacturing and development aircraft on the B-2.


Whiteman AFB, Missouri, is the only operational base for the B-2. The first aircraft, Spirit of Missouri, was delivered Dec. 17, 1993. Depot maintenance responsibility for the B-2 is performed by Air Force contractor support and is managed at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker AFB, Okla.

Impressive video shows 509th Bomb Wing and 131st Bomb Wing performing mass fly-off of 12 B-2 Spirit bombers
This model is available from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

The combat effectiveness of the B-2 was proved in Operation Allied Force, flying from its home station at Whiteman AFB and returning to base without landing.

The Spirit was responsible for destroying 33 percent of all Serbian targets in the first eight weeks.

The story of when a USAF B-2 Spirit bombed Chinese Embassy in Belgrade during Operation Allied Force
Chinese Embassy in Belgrade after the B-2 Bombing

B-2 Bombing Chinese Embassy

As explained by Brian D. Laslie and Adam Tooby in their book Operation Allied Force 1999 NATO’s airpower victory in Kosovo, one of the more unusual events of the war occurred on May 7, 1999 when an American B-2 Spirit dropped five JDAMs on the Chinese Embassy. Both immediately after the event and in the more than 20 years since the attack, there has been much discussion and argument about how the United States could possibly misidentify a foreign nation’s embassy as a legitimate target. While some have characterized it as not an accident, an equal number pointed out that many older maps did not note that location as that of the Chinese Embassy. Complicating the matter even further was that this particular strike had the aid of the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Since it was B-2 Spirits which carried out the attack, some in NATO were quick to point out that these strategic assets were operating through an American-only chain of command. However, at the headquarters in Brussels, NATO officials stated that every target was “meticulously planned.” This particular attack did occur on a night where NATO strikes ramped up considerably and included the Dobanovci command complex and paramilitary group using the Hotel Yugoslavia as barracks.

It is entirely possible that emissions coming from the Hotel Yugoslavia could have been interpreted as coming from the buildings of the embassy. Thus, when one considers outdated maps being used to identify supposedly empty buildings that were actively emitting military communications across the street from the known location of Serbian paramilitary forces, it is not a stretch to see how the accident occurred.

Operation Allied Force 1999 NATO’s airpower victory in Kosovo is published by Osprey Publishing and is available to order here.

The story of when a USAF B-2 Spirit bombed Chinese Embassy in Belgrade during Operation Allied Force

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force and Sasa Stankovic/EPA/Shutterstock

Share this article

Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share this article

Share this article
Share this article

Always up to date! News and offers delivered directly to you!

Get the best aviation news, stories and features from The Aviation Geek Club in our newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox.

Error: Contact form not found.

Share this article
Back to top
My Agile Privacy
This website uses technical and profiling cookies. Clicking on "Accept" authorises all profiling cookies. Clicking on "Refuse" or the X will refuse all profiling cookies. By clicking on "Customise" you can select which profiling cookies to activate. In addition, this site installs Google Analytics in version 4 (GA4) with anonymous data transmission via proxy. By giving your consent, the data will be sent anonymously, thus protecting your privacy. We and our selected ad partners can store and/or access information on your device, such as cookies, unique identifiers, browsing data. You can always choose the specific purposes related to profiling by accessing the advertising preferences panel, and you can always withdraw your consent at any time by clicking on "Manage consent" at the bottom of the page.

List of some possible advertising permissions:

You can consult: our list of advertising partners, the Cookie Policy and the Privacy Policy.
Warning: some page functionalities could not work due to your privacy choices