U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer
Initially produced in 1974 as the B-1A, the Lancer was primarily designed to launch nuclear weapons. However, after the Cold War, the B-1B was developed to carry conventional munitions. The B-1B was first used in combat in 1998 during Operation Desert Fox in Iraq and was also used in Kosovo, Afghanistan and in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Dubbed the US Air Force’s “Most Valuable Player”, currently the B-1B is used almost every day in operations over Iraq and Afghanistan. The aircraft has a distinctive variable-geometric wing. This together with its four afterburning GE engines, which produce 120,000 pounds of thrust, make it capable of supersonic speeds up to Mach 1.2.
DID YOU KNOW?
- The B-1A program started in 1974 and was canceled by 1977. President Ronald Reagan revived the program as the B-1B in 1981.
- It is nicknamed the “Bone” which originated from “B-One”.
- The B-1B carries the largest payload of guided and unguided munitions in the U.S. Air Force.
- During Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), the Lancer dropped 40 percent of the weapons and 70 percent of precision-guided JDAM weapons!
- Six B-1Bs were used during Operation Allied Force (Kosovo) and dropped more than 20 percent of the total ordnance. Their missions only accounted for less than two percent of total combat sorties during this conflict!
The first airstrikes against ISIS were completed by an F/A-18 Super Hornet!
B-1B FAST FACTS:
Engines: Four General Electric (GE) F101-GE-102 engines
Thrust: 30,000 pounds per engine
Wingspan: 137 feet
Length: 146 feet
Height: 34 feet
Speed: 900+ MPH
Range: 6,000 nautical miles
Ceiling: More than 30,000 feet
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 477,000 pounds
Fuel Capacity: 265,274 pounds
Unit Cost: $317 million