Airframe: The B-1B Lancer

The Rockwell B-1 Lancer is a supersonic variable-sweep wing, heavy bomber used by the United States Air Force. It is commonly called the "Bone" (from "B-One"). It is one of three strategic bombers in the U.S. Air Force fleet as of 2018, the other two being the B-2 Spirit "Stealth Bomber", and the B-52 Stratofortress. The B-1 was first envisioned in the 1960s as a platform that would combine the Mach 2 speed of the B-58 Hustler with the range and payload of the B-52, and would ultimately replace both bombers. After a long series of studies, Rockwell International (now part of Boeing) won the design contest for what emerged as the B-1A. This version had a top speed of Mach 2.2 at high altitude and the capability of flying for long distances at Mach 0.85 at very low altitudes. The combination of the high cost of the aircraft, the introduction of the AGM-86 cruise missile that flew the same basic profile, and early work on the stealth bomber all significantly affected the need for the B-1. This led to the program being canceled in 1977, after the B-1A prototypes had been built.

A KC-135 Stratotanker from Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., refuels a B-1B Lancer during a training exercise over South Dakota. For more than 50 years the KC-135 has provided the core aerial refueling capability for the Air Force. The aircraft can travel up to 1,500 miles with 150,000 pounds of transfer fuel, which enables the Air Force to project rapid, flexible military power. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Mary O'Dell/92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs)

A KC-135 Stratotanker from Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., refuels a B-1B Lancer during a training exercise over South Dakota. For more than 50 years the KC-135 has provided the core aerial refueling capability for the Air Force. The aircraft can travel up to 1,500 miles with 150,000 pounds of transfer fuel, which enables the Air Force to project rapid, flexible military power. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Mary O'Dell/92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs)

A B-1B Lancer assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., takes off on the first day of Red Flag 16-2 Feb. 29, 2016, at Nellis AFB, Nev. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman First Class Keven Tanenbaum)

A B-1B Lancer assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., takes off on the first day of Red Flag 16-2 Feb. 29, 2016, at Nellis AFB, Nev. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman First Class Keven Tanenbaum)

Lt. Col. Sloan Hollis maneuvers a B-1B Lancer bomber over Southern Afghanistan, Nov. 6, 2013. Hollis is a 379th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron commander and pilot. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Ben Bloker)

Lt. Col. Sloan Hollis maneuvers a B-1B Lancer bomber over Southern Afghanistan, Nov. 6, 2013. Hollis is a 379th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron commander and pilot. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Ben Bloker)

A B1-B Lancer takes off for a mission during exercise Green Flag-West 13-02 at Nellis. The aircraft is assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth. (U.S. Air Force photo/Val Gempis)

A B1-B Lancer takes off for a mission during exercise Green Flag-West 13-02 at Nellis. The aircraft is assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth. (U.S. Air Force photo/Val Gempis)

B-1B Lancer
(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brian Ferguson)

B-1B Lancer (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brian Ferguson)

The U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer is the backbone of America's long-range bomber force participating in Red Flag 12-2 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brett Clashman)

The U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer is the backbone of America's long-range bomber force participating in Red Flag 12-2 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brett Clashman)

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer taxis out before a training mission over the Nevada Test and Training Range during Red Flag 12-2 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brett Clashman)

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer taxis out before a training mission over the Nevada Test and Training Range during Red Flag 12-2 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brett Clashman)

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer departs for a training mission over the Nevada Test and Training Range during Red Flag 12-2 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Red Flag is a combat training exercise involving the air forces of the United States and its allies. The exercise is hosted north of Las Vegas on the NTTR.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brett Clashman)

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer departs for a training mission over the Nevada Test and Training Range during Red Flag 12-2 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Red Flag is a combat training exercise involving the air forces of the United States and its allies. The exercise is hosted north of Las Vegas on the NTTR. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brett Clashman)

A B-1 Lancer flies over the Norma Brown building during the 75th Diamond Anniversary ceremony on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 26, 2016. The B-1 flew over after a Vultee BT-15 Valient flew over. Both were symbolic; the vintage BT-15 represented the planes that Goodfellow pilots trained on, and the B-1 represented the intelligence support training the base now provides. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Scott Jackson)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 10 of 13

A B-1 Lancer flies over the Norma Brown building during the 75th Diamond Anniversary ceremony on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 26, 2016. The B-1 flew over after a Vultee BT-15 Valient flew over. Both were symbolic; the vintage BT-15 represented the planes that Goodfellow pilots trained on, and the B-1 represented the intelligence support training the base now provides. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Scott Jackson)

A B-1B Lancer takes off from Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, to conduct combat operations April 8, 2015. Al Udeid is a strategic coalition air base in Qatar that supports over 90 combat and support aircraft and houses more than 5,000 military personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman James Richardson)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 11 of 13

A B-1B Lancer takes off from Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, to conduct combat operations April 8, 2015. Al Udeid is a strategic coalition air base in Qatar that supports over 90 combat and support aircraft and houses more than 5,000 military personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman James Richardson)

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron prepare for a B-1B Lancer to launch during the Red Flag combat training exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 12 of 13

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron prepare for a B-1B Lancer to launch during the Red Flag combat training exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

B-1B Lancer (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 13 of 13

B-1B Lancer (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway)

Fort Meade, MD --


For more than 30 years the B-1B Lancer has proven itself as an essential part of America’s long-range strategic bomber force. Capable of carrying the largest conventional payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the Air Force, the B-1 can rapidly deliver massive quantities of precision and non-precision weapons against any adversary, anywhere in the world, at any time.



 

A B-1B Lancer assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., takes off on the first day of Red Flag 16-2 Feb. 29, 2016, at Nellis AFB, Nev. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman First Class Keven Tanenbaum)
A B-1B Lancer assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., takes off on the first day of Red Flag 16-2 Feb. 29, 2016, at Nellis AFB, Nev. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman First Class Keven Tanenbaum)
A B-1B Lancer assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., takes off on the first day of Red Flag 16-2 Feb. 29, 2016, at Nellis AFB, Nev. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman First Class Keven Tanenbaum)
B-1B Lancer takes off during Red Flag 16-2
A B-1B Lancer assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., takes off on the first day of Red Flag 16-2 Feb. 29, 2016, at Nellis AFB, Nev. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman First Class Keven Tanenbaum)
Photo By: Airman 1st Class Kevin Tanenbaum
VIRIN: 180517-F-YM181-9010

DEVELOPMENT

The Air Force’s newly acquired B-52 Stratofortress hadn’t even taken off for it’s first flight before studies for its replacement began. Research started in the realm of a supersonic bomber resulting in the development of the B-58 Hustler and XB-70 Valkyrie in the late 50’s. Although cancelled, a joint NASA-U.S. Air Force flight research program continued to use the XB-70 prototypes, which were capable of reaching Mach 3.0, for research purposes into the late 60’s.

During that decade Air Force began to move away from developing high and fast bombers in favor of low-flying aircraft capable of penetrating enemy defenses.

In 1970 Rockwell International was awarded the contract to develop the B-1A, a new bomber capable of high efficiency cruising flight whether at subsonic speeds or at Mach 2.2. To meet all set mission requirements, such as takeoff and landing on runways shorter than those at established large bases, the B-1A was equipped with variable-sweep wings.

The first prototype flight occurred on December 23, 1974 and by the late 70’s four prototypes had been built, however, the program was canceled in 1977 before going into production.

Flight-testing of the prototypes continued through 1981 when, during the Reagan administration, the B-1 program was revived. For the B1-B, the Mach 2.2 number was dropped and the maximum speed limit set to about Mach 1.2 at high altitude due, in part, to changes from a variable air inlet to a fixed inlet. Other major changes included, an additional structure to increase payload to 74,000 pounds, an improved radar and reduction of the radar cross section.

The first production B-1 flew in October 1984, and the first B-1B was delivered to Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, in June 1985. Initial operational capability was achieved on Oct. 1, 1986. The final B-1B was delivered May 2, 1988.

The B-1B holds almost 50 world records for speed, payload, range, and time of climb in its class.

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron prepare for a B-1B Lancer to launch during the Red Flag combat training exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)
U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron prepare for a B-1B Lancer to launch during the Red Flag combat training exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)
U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron prepare for a B-1B Lancer to launch during the Red Flag combat training exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)
Airmen prepare for B-1B Lancer to launch during Red Flag
U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron prepare for a B-1B Lancer to launch during the Red Flag combat training exercise at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)
Photo By: Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal
VIRIN: 180517-F-AD344-9005

OPERATIONAL HISTORY

The B-1B was first used in combat in support of operations against Iraq during Operation Desert Fox in December 1998. In 1999, six B-1s were used in Yugoslavia during Operation Allied Force, delivering more than 20 percent of the total ordnance while flying less than 2 percent of the combat sorties.


During the first six months of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, eight B-1s dropped nearly 40 percent of the total tonnage delivered by coalition air forces. This included nearly 3,900 JDAMs, or 67 percent of the total. In Operation Iraqi Freedom, the aircraft flew less than 1 percent of the combat missions while delivering 43 percent of the JDAMs used. The B-1 continues to be deployed today, flying missions daily in support of continuing operations.

A B-1 Lancer flies over the Norma Brown building during the 75th Diamond Anniversary ceremony on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 26, 2016. The B-1 flew over after a Vultee BT-15 Valient flew over. Both were symbolic; the vintage BT-15 represented the planes that Goodfellow pilots trained on, and the B-1 represented the intelligence support training the base now provides. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Scott Jackson)
A B-1 Lancer flies over the Norma Brown building during the 75th Diamond Anniversary ceremony on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 26, 2016. The B-1 flew over after a Vultee BT-15 Valient flew over. Both were symbolic; the vintage BT-15 represented the planes that Goodfellow pilots trained on, and the B-1 represented the intelligence support training the base now provides. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Scott Jackson)
A B-1 Lancer flies over the Norma Brown building during the 75th Diamond Anniversary ceremony on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 26, 2016. The B-1 flew over after a Vultee BT-15 Valient flew over. Both were symbolic; the vintage BT-15 represented the planes that Goodfellow pilots trained on, and the B-1 represented the intelligence support training the base now provides. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Scott Jackson)
B-1 Lancer flies during the 75th Diamond Anniversary ceremony
A B-1 Lancer flies over the Norma Brown building during the 75th Diamond Anniversary ceremony on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 26, 2016. The B-1 flew over after a Vultee BT-15 Valient flew over. Both were symbolic; the vintage BT-15 represented the planes that Goodfellow pilots trained on, and the B-1 represented the intelligence support training the base now provides. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Scott Jackson)
Photo By: Senior Airman Scott Jackson
VIRIN: 180517-F-HF287-9009

ACTIVE SQUADRONS

  • The 9th and 28th Bomb Squadrons, 7th Bomb Wing, and the 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Dyess AFB, Texas

  • 34th and 37th Bomb Squadrons, 28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota

 

DID YOU KNOW?

  • The B-1B is nicknamed “The Bone” due to the phonetic spelling of its model designation B-ONE.

  • The B-1B has flown 12,000-plus sorties since 2001 in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq.

  • With it’s rapid deployment capability and long-range the B-1B can strike targets anywhere in the world from it’s home station.

B-1B Lancer (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway)
B-1B Lancer (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway)
B-1B Lancer (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway)
B-1B Lancer flies
B-1B Lancer (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway)
Photo By: Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway
VIRIN: 180517-F-2828D-9004

AIRCRAFT STATS

  • Primary function: Long-range, multi-role, heavy bomber

  • Contractor: Boeing

  • Power plant: Four General Electric F101-GE-102 turbofan engines with afterburner

  • Thrust: 30,000-plus pounds each engine

  • Wingspan: 137 feet (41.8 meters) extended forward, 79 feet (24.1 meters) swept aft

  • Length: 146 feet, (44.5 meters)

  • Height: 34 feet (10.4 meters)

  • Payload: 75,000 pounds Internal (34,019 kilograms)

  • Speed: 900-plus mph (Mach 1 plus)

  • Ceiling: More than 30,000 feet (9,144 meters)

  • Armament: Approximately 75,000 pounds of mixed ordnance: bombs, mines and missiles

  • Crew: Four (aircraft commander, copilot, and two combat systems officers)

  • Unit Cost: $317 million

  • Initial operating capability: October 1986

  • Inventory: Active Duty, 62 (2 test); Air Force Reserve, 0; Air National Guard, 0




                                                                                                                                       

Feature Directory

Redirecting...


 

Social Media