B-1 Bomber

wallpaper-247128.jpgThe Rockwell (now part of Boeing) B-1 Lancer is a four-engine, variable-sweep wing strategic bomber used by the U.S. Air Force (USAF). First envisioned in the 1960s as a supersonic bomber with sufficient range and payload to replace the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, it developed primarily into a low-level penetrator with long range and supersonic speed capability.

The bomber’s development was delayed multiple times over its history, as the theory of strategic balance changed from flexible response to mutually assured destruction and back again. The initial B-1A version was developed in the early 1970s, but its production was canceled and only four prototypes were built. In 1980, the B-1 resurfaced as the B-1B version with the focus on low-level penetration bombing. The B-1B entered service with the USAF in 1986

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The B-1B began service with the USAF Strategic Air Command as a nuclear bomber. In the 1990s, it was converted to conventional bombing use. It was first used in combat during Operation Desert Fox in 1998 and during the NATO action in Kosovo the following year. The B-1B continues to support U.S. and NATO military in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Lancer is the supersonic component of the USAF’s long-range bomber force, along with the subsonic B-52 and Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit. The bomber is commonly called the “Bone” (originally from “B-One”). With the retirement of the General Dynamics/Grumman EF-111A Raven in 1998 and the Grumman F-14 Tomcat in 2006, the B-1B is the U.S. military’s only active variable-sweep wing aircraft.


General Characteristics of the B-1 Bomber

  • Crew: 4 (aircraft commander, co-pilot, offensive systems officer, and defensive systems officer)
  • Payload: 125,000 lb (56,600 kg); internal and external ordnance combined
  • Length: 146 ft (44.5 m)
  • Wingspan:Height: 34 ft (10.4 m)
    • Extended: 137 ft (41.8 m)
    • Swept: 79 ft (24.1 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)
  • Power plant: 4Ã- General Electric F101-GE-102 augmented turbofans Fuel capacity, optional: 10,000 U.S. gal (38,000 L)


    • Dry thrust: 14,600 lbf (64.9 kN) each
    • Thrust with afterburner: 30,780 lbf (136.92 kN) each

B-1 Bomber Performance

  • Maximum speed:Range: 6,478 nmi (7,456 mi, 11,998 km)
    • At altitude: Mach 1.25 (721 knots, 830 mph, 1,340 km/h at 50,000 ft/15,000 m altitude)
    • At low level: Mach 0.92 (700 mph, 1,130 km/h at 200—500 ft/60-150 m altitude)
  • Combat radius: 2,993 nmi (3,445 mi, 5,543 km)
  • Service ceiling: 60,000 ft (18,000 m)
  • Wing loading: 167 lb/ft² (816 kg/m²)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.38

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B-1 Bomber Armament

  • Hard points: six external hard points for 50,000 lb (22,700 kg) of ordnance (use for weapons currently restricted by START I treaty) and 3 internal bomb bays for 75,000 lb (34,000 kg) of ordnance.
  • Bombs:
    • 84Ã- Mk-82 AIR inflatable retarder general-purpose bombs
    • 81Ã- Mk-82 low-drag general-purpose bombs
    • 84Ã- Mk-62 Quick strike sea mines
    • 24Ã- Mk-65 naval mines
    • 30Ã- CBU-87/89/CBU-97 Cluster Bomb Units (CBU)
    • 30Ã- CBU-103/104/105 Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser
    • 24Ã- GBU-31 JDAM GPS-guided bombs
    • 15Ã- GBU-38 JDAM GPS-guided bombs (Mk-82 general-purpose warhead)
    • 24Ã- Mk-84 general-purpose bombs
    • 12Ã- AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon
    • 96Ã- or 144Ã- GBU-39 Small-Diameter Bomb GPS-guided bombs (not fielded on B-1 yet)
    • 24Ã- AGM-158 JASSM
    • 24Ã- B61 thermonuclear variable-yield gravity bombs (no longer carried)
    • 24x B83 nuclear bomb (no longer carried)

B-1 Bomber Avionics

  • 1Ã- AN/APQ-164 forward-looking offensive passive phased-array radar
  • 1Ã- AN/ALQ-161 radar warning and defensive jamming equipment
  • 1Ã- AN/ASQ-184 defensive management system
  • 1Ã- Lockheed Martin Sniper XR targeting pod (optional)