B-1 Lancer

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B-1 Lancer

Type: Manufacturer:

Bomber Rockwell International Boeing IDS

Designed by: Maiden flight: Introduced: Retired: Status: Primary users: Produced: Built: Unit cost: Variants: 67 active, 24 mothballed United States Air Force {{{produced}}} 104 B-1 US$283.1 million in 1998 1974-12-23 1986-10-01

The Boeing IDS (formerly Rockwell) B-1B Lancer is a long-range strategic bomber in service with the United States Air Force (USAF). Together with the B-52 Stratofortress and the B-2 Spirit, it is the backbone of the United States's long-range bomber force. Although officially nicknamed the "Lancer", its crews almost never refer to the B-1 by this name. Crews prefer to call the B-1 the "Bone." Origins of the "Bone" nickname are disputed, but appear to stem from an early newspaper article about the aircraft wherein its name was phonetically spelled out as "B-ONE". Crews, who generally felt the "Lancer" moniker was unappealing, quickly latched onto the "Bone"

nickname. Unlike other combat aircraft, no other competing nickname has ever gained traction within the community.

Original B-1 program
The B-1 was conceived as the Advanced Manned Strategic Aircraft (AMSA) program circa 1965. After a prolonged development period, the contract was awarded in 1970 to Rockwell International. The first of four prototype B-1A models (s/n 74-158) flew on December 23, 1974. Intended as a high-speed, long-range bomber capable of a supersonic low-level dash and Mach 2.5 at altitude, the B-1A never went into production. The program was cancelled by decision of President Jimmy Carter in 1977, although flight tests of the four B-1A models continued through 1981. The first B-1A was scrapped at the Rome Air Development Center, New York. The second (s/n 74-159) flew for the subsequent B-1B program, but crashed on August 29, 1984. This aircraft was equipped with a crew escape capsule, instead of conventional ejection seats. The capsule ejected from the aircraft, but the parachute deployed improperly and the pilot, Doug Benefield, was killed on impact. The other two B-1As survive. The third prototype (s/n 74-160) is on display at Wings Over the Rockies in Denver, Colorado. The last B-1A (s/n 74-174) also served in the B-1B program. It was on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force near Dayton, Ohio for many years before moving to the Strategic Air and Space Museum in Ashland, Nebraska. This aircraft has conventional ejection seats and other features distinctive to the B-1B variant instead of the B-1A.

Rebirth of the B-1 program
The Reagan Administration restarted the B-1 program in 1981 as part of its overall military buildup. The B-1 was by then intended to serve as an interim bomber in anticipation of the stealthy Advanced Technology Bomber (which emerged as the B-2 Spirit). Cynics noted that the Air Force very astutely spread production subcontracts across many congressional districts, making the aircraft very popular on Capitol Hill. The first production model of the revised B-1B first flew in October 1984, and the first B-1B, "The Star of Abilene," was delivered to Dyess Air Force Base, Abilene, Texas, in June 1985, with initial operational capability on October 1, 1986. The final B-1B was delivered May 2, 1988. "The Star of Abilene" was recently retired and is now on display at the front gate of Dyess AFB.

Partial retirement

A B-1B flying over the Pacific

A total of 100 front-line aircraft were produced at a cost of over $200 million each. After several writeoffs, 93 remained by the turn of the century. In 2003 the USAF decided to retire 33 of the B-1Bs to concentrate its budget on maintaining availability of the remaining aircraft, although in 2004 a new appropriations bill called for some of the retired aircraft to return to service. In 2004, the USAF returned seven of the mothballed bombers to service, giving a total force of 67 aircraft, with the rest cannibalized for spares. Five of the seven that were brought back to service went to Dyess AFB in Texas, one to Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota, and another to Edwards AFB in California. In 2005, The Pentagon announced the closing of Ellsworth AFB and the transfer of all operational B-1s to Dyess AFB. However, on August 26, 2005, it was announced that Ellsworth AFB would remain open thus no transfer of Ellsworth's B-1s would occur.

The B-1 has a blended wing and body configuration, along with variable-geometry wing design and turbofan engines, to improve range and speed with enhanced survivability. Forward wing settings are used for takeoff, landings and high-altitude maximum cruise. Aft wing settings are used in high subsonic and supersonic flight, enhancing the B-1's performance. The wings of the B-1B originally were cleared for use at settings of 15, 25, 55, and 67.5 degrees; 45-degree settings were cleared in 1998–1999. Unlike the B-1A, the B-1B made no attempt at Mach 2+ speeds, although its F101-GE-102 engines are somewhat more powerful than those of the B-1A. Its maximum speed at altitude is Mach 1.2 (about 950 mph or 1,330 km/h), although its low-level speed, Mach 0.95 (about 700 mph/1,118 km/h) is superior to the B-1A's Mach 0.85. Technically, the current version of the aircraft can exceed its speed restriction, but not without risking potential damage to its structure and modified air intakes which were developed to make the aircraft more stealthy. The B-1's offensive avionics include the Westinghouse (now Northrop Grumman) AN/APQ-164 forward-looking offensive radar set with electronic beam steering (and a fixed antenna pointed downward for reduced radar observability), synthetic aperture radar, ground moving target indicator

(MTI), and terrain-following radar modes, Doppler navigation, radar altimeter, and an inertial navigation suite. From 1995 on, the B-1B Block D upgrade added a Global Positioning System receiver. The B-1's defensive electronics include the Eaton AN/ALQ-161 radar warning and defensive jamming equipment, linked to a total of eight chaff/flare dispensers and managed by the AN/ASQ-184 defensive management system. The ALQ-161 has proved to be troublesome in service, earning the B-1B a reputation as the "world's first self-jamming bomber." Even the current ALQ-161A upgrade is seen as inadequate, although plans for a defensive systems upgrade program (DSUP) were cancelled for budgetary reasons. The B-1 has also been equipped to carry the ALE-50 Towed Decoy System. The Lancer has an additional Doppler tail-warning radar to detect aircraft or missiles approaching from the rear. Also aiding the B-1's survivability is its relatively low radar cross-section (RCS). Although not technically a stealth aircraft in a comprehensive sense, thanks to the aircraft's structure, serpentine intake paths, and use of radar-absorbent material, its RCS is about 1/50th that of the B-52 (probably about 26 ft²), although the Lancer is not substantially smaller in mass than the Stratofortress. The B-1 has been upgraded since production through the Conventional Mission Upgrade Program. This multi-stage program added a new MIL-STD-1760 smart-weapons interface that enables the use of the Joint Direct Attack Munition and other precision-guided conventional weapons, such as the WindCorrected Munitions dispenser (WCMD), the AGM-154 JSOW (Joint Stand-Off Weapon), and the AGM-158 Joint Air to Surface Standoff Munition (JASSM). Future precision munitions such as the Small Diameter Bomb may be added. These and other improvements are intended to ensure that the B-1 will be viable through approximately 2020.

Operational History
The B-1 was given new life as the new threats of the 21st century emerged, and now fills an important niche in the Air Force inventory. It is worth noting that the project finished on budget, and has higher survivability and speed when compared to the older B-52, which it was intended to replace. With the arrival of limited numbers of B-2s in the 1990s and the continuing use of B-52s, its value has been questioned. However, the capability of a high-speed strike with a large bomb payload for time-sensitive operations is useful, and no new strategic bomber is on the immediate horizon. Originally designed strictly for nuclear war, the B-1's development as an effective conventional bomber was delayed until the 1990s. By 1991, the B-1 had a fledgeling conventional capability, able to drop the 500 pound Mk-82 General Purpose (GP) bomb, although mostly from low altitude. After the absorption of Strategic Air Command (SAC) into Air Combat Command in 1992, the B-1 began to truly develop conventionally. A key part of this development was the stand-up of the B-1 Weapons School Division, also in 1992. By the mid-90s, the B-1 could employ GP weapons as well as various CBUs. By the end of the 90s, with the advent of the "Block D" upgrade, the B-1 boasted a full array of guided and unguided munitions. This development has continued through the present. Operationally, the B-1 was first used in combat in support of operations against Iraq during Operation Desert Fox in December 1998, employing unguided GP weapons. B-1s have been subsequently used in Operation Allied Force (Kosovo) and most notably Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom. In OEF and OIF, the B-1 employed its full array of weapons, most notably the GBU-31, 2000 pound Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM). Also during OEF and OIF the B-1 has maintained a 79% mission capable rate, a considerable improvement over its previous 57% average rate. The B-1 holds several world records for speed, payload and distance. The National Aeronautic Association recognized the B-1B for completing one of the 10 most memorable record flights for 1993.

Crashes and malfunctions

A single B-1B was lost in December of 2001 over the Indian Ocean; its crew was rescued. The bomber (of the 28th Bomb Wing, designated ICECUBE 44) was approximately 100 miles north of Diego Garcia, whence it had departed, flying en route to a long-range combat mission over Afghanistan, when the crew declared an in-flight emergency. Details remain classified, but the crash was attributed by the pilot, Capt. William Steele, to "multiple malfunctions" causing the bomber to go "out of control". Further information from maintenance specialists related the aircraft mishap to the aircrew experiencing electrical bus failures that contributed to an instrument blackout affecting both primary and backup instruments. It was also rumored that the aircraft at the time the aircrew ejected was not in level flight but inverted and quickly heading nose down towards the Indian Ocean. With no visual reference available to the aircrew of level flight, the 4 members ejected safely. The bomber carries what is known as a "structural data collector" or an SDC which constantly records the last 30 seconds of flight control positions, engine throttle settings, and other instrument data. Because of the depth of the water in which the aircraft crashed, the SDC or "Black Box" was unable to be

recovered from the wreckage and therefore the true nature of the cause was unable to be positively determined. The aircraft had recently returned from Ellsworth AFB, SD from a routine Phase Inspection and was on its first combat mission after returning to Diego Garcia. Hostile fire was ruled out as a cause for the crash. The crew spent two hours in the water before being rescued by a launch from the USS Russell. This was the first B-1B to be lost in combat operations since the model became operational in 1986.

On February 18, 1998, a B-1B flying a training mission out of Dyess Air Force Base was lost over Kentucky when a fire in the cockpit instrument panel shut down the plane's power. All four crew members were able to eject and were rescued safely. In response to a warning light on the #3 engine, the crew took action to shut down the fuel pumps to that engine. However, a panel shortout caused a fire, which shut down fuel to all engines, and prevented them from being restarted. "[T]he uncommanded shutdown of the three engines, in turn, removed all hydraulic and electrical power from the aircraft, rendering the pilots incapable of restarting the engines and controlling the aircraft," noted Col. David A. Shunk.  In September 1997, a B-1B from the 28th Bomb Wing, flying a training mission out of Ellsworth Air Force Base crashed in the Powder River Military Operating Area, Montana; all four members of the crew were killed. The cause was attributed to pilot error.  17 people have been killed in B-1B crashes since the first production model's maiden flight in 1984.


B-1R concept.

The B-1R is a proposed replacement for the B-1B fleet. Boeing's director of global strike integration, Rich Parke, was first quoted about the "B-1R" bomber in Air Force Magazine. Parke said the B-1R (R stands for "regional") would be a Lancer with advanced radars, air-to-air missiles, and F-22 engines. Its new top speed—Mach 2.2—would be purchased at the price of a 20% reduction of the B-1B's combat range. This proposal would involve modifying existing aircraft. The FB-22 and YF-23 are alternative proposals. Additional enhancements would include network-centric capabilities, air-to-air engagement, active electronically-scanned array radar, improved defensive systems, and opening up existing external hard points for conventional weapons.

Units using the B-1

7th Bomb Wing, Dyess AFB, Abilene, Texas o 9th Bomb Squadron o 28th Bomb Squadron  28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth AFB, Rapid City, South Dakota o 34th Bomb Squadron o 37th Bomb Squadron  53d Wing, Eglin AFB, Florida o 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Dyess AFB, Texas  57th Wing, Nellis AFB, Nevada o 77th Weapons Squadron, USAF Weapons School, Dyess AFB, Texas

Popular culture
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Footage shot from the tail of a B-1A/B flying over the desert appears in Godfrey Reggio's film Koyaanisqatsi, pictured here The author Dale Brown frequently features B-1 and B-52 bombers in his books. The unofficial 1983 James Bond film Never Say Never Again features a cruise missile launch from a B-1 bomber (although a sequence in which cruise missiles are loaded onto the B-1 was filmed with a Concorde SST substituting for the B1's undercarriage). In the Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle science fiction novel Footfall, the President is taken to safety at NORAD aboard a B-1 bomber, during an alien invasion. In the Tom Clancy book Debt of Honor, B-1s are used to test the Japanese air defenses and against the Indian Navy.

Specifications (B-1B Lancer)

B-1B at RIAT 2004.

General characteristics
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Crew: 4: aircraft commander, copilot, offensive systems officer and defensive systems officer Length: 146 ft (44.5 m) Wingspan: Extended: 137 ft (41.8 m) Swept: 79 ft (24.1 m) Height: 34 ft (10.4 m) Wing area: 1,950 ft² (181.2 m²) Airfoil: NA69-190-2 Empty weight: 192,000 lb (87,100 kg) Loaded weight: 326,000 lb (148,000 kg) Max takeoff weight: 477,000 lb (216,400 kg) Powerplant: 4× General Electric F101-GE-102 augmented turbofans o Dry thrust: 14,600 lbf (64.94 kN) each o Thrust with afterburner: 30,780 lbf (136.92 kN) each

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Maximum speed: Mach 1.25 (950 mph, 1,330 km/h) Combat radius: 2,993 nm (3,445 mi, 5,543 km) Maximum range: 6,478 nm (7,456 mi, 11,998 km) Service ceiling: 60,000 ft (18,000 m) Wing loading: 167 lb/ft² (816 kg/m²) Thrust/weight: 0.37


Locations: o 6 external hardpoints for an additional 59,000 lb (27,000 kg) of ordnance (use for weapons currently restricted by START I treaty) o 3 internal bays for 75,000 lb (34,000 kg) of ordnance.  Options: o Bombs:  84× Mk-82 general purpose bombs  84× Mk-62 naval mines  8× Mk-65 naval mines  30× CBU-87/89 cluster munitions  30× CBU-97 sensor-fused weapons  30× CBU-103/104/105 WCMD  24× GBU-31 JDAM GPS guided bombs (both Mk-84 general purpose and BLU-109 penetrating bombs)  15x GBU-38 JDAM GPS guided bombs (Mk-82 general purpose warhead)  24× Mk-84 general purpose bombs o Missiles:  24× AGM-158 JASSM  12× AGM-154 JSOW o Fuel: One or more of the three internal weapons bays can be configured to carry a 10,000 gallon (38,000 L) fuel tank instead of weapons in that bay)

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1× Westinghouse AN/APQ-164 forward-looking offensive radar 1× Eaton AN/ALQ-161 radar warning and defensive jamming equipment 1× AN/ASQ-184 defensive management system