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B-1 'Lancer' Side View 2 of 2

B-1 'Lancer' Side View 2 of 2

B-1 "Lancer" Side View 2 of 2

Side view of the B-1 "Lancer"


In support of its efforts to modernize America’s bomber fleet, the US Air Force (USAF) will begin divesting 17 B-1B bombers from its current fleet as authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act.

This action will not affect the service’s lethality or any associated maintenance manpower. It will allow officials to focus maintenance and depot-level manpower on the remaining aircraft, increasing readiness and paving the way for the bomber fleet modernization ready to meet future challenges.

“Beginning to retire legacy bombers, to make way for the B-21 Raider, is something we have been working toward for some time,” said Gen. Tim Ray, Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) commander, in the Command news release. “Due to the wear and tear placed on the B-1 fleet over the past two decades, maintaining these bombers would cost 10s of millions of dollars per aircraft to get back to status quo. And that’s just to fix the problems we know about. We’re just accelerating planned retirements.”

The 17 B-1B aircraft will be retired from the current fleet of 62 B-1s, leaving 45 in the active fleet. Of the 17 B-1 aircraft, four will be required to remain in a reclaimable condition that is consistent with Type 2000 recallable storage.

Continuous combat operations over the last 20 years have taken a toll on the airframe’s structure. Currently, a small portion of the B-1Bs are in a state that will require approximately ten to thirty million dollars per aircraft to get back to a status quo fleet in the short term until the B-21 comes online.

“Retiring aircraft with the least amount of usable life allows us to prioritize the health of the fleet and crew training,” Ray said. “Our ability to balance these priorities will make us more capable and lethal overall.”

With fewer aircraft in the B-1 fleet, maintainers will be able to give more time and attention to each aircraft.

“The divestiture of the B-1 is necessary in order for the Air Force to create an even more lethal, agile and sustainable force with a greater competitive edge for tomorrow’s fight,” Ray said.


This One Vaccine May Protect You Against All Variants, New Study Says

This is the only vaccine to be proven effective against new variants.

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Last month, COVID numbers plateaued and then recently, they started to climb again in a dangerous trajectory that suggests we're far from out of the woods. Experts say that rising U.S. case counts are likely due to two things: relaxed restrictions and the presence of more contagious new variants from the U.K., Brazil, and South Africa. These strains add an unpredictable new element to the pandemic, which many medical professionals warn could thwart our efforts to reach herd immunity.

Yet there are many reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the pandemic's future, vaccines being chief among them. With three highly efficacious shots on the market, we now have a way to push back against these new COVID variants by slowing their spread. And while any of the current vaccines may be effective against emerging variants, only one company has formally assessed their own product and found it to be effective against these new threats. Read on to find out which vaccine was put to the test, and for more breaking vaccine news, check out Pfizer's Vaccine Protects You for at Least This Long, Study Finds.

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A team of researchers from Pfizer and the University of Texas Medical Branch set out to answer the question of whether vaccines developed to fight older COVID variants would protect against newer strains. Ultimately publishing their results in the New England Journal of Medicine in March, they set up a lab trial to test antibodies in serum samples from 15 volunteers who had received both vaccine doses. Within this small sample, they found that the vaccine generated a "substantial" antibody response to lab-engineered versions of the virus variants.

"Taken together, these findings indicate that this vaccine is likely to be effective against the variants studied, although precisely how effective they are in the real world will require data on the vaccine's actual effect in populations, not just in laboratory studies such as this one," reports BBC Science Focus Magazine. Further studies are likely to look at other aspects of immune response, including T-cell (cellular) immunity, they explain. And for more COVID news delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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While Pfizer's vaccine appeared to protect against all of the new variants, the study found that it did so to varying degrees depending on variant type. The team discovered that the shot was most protective against the original strain and the B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the U.K., while eliciting a slightly lower response against the P.1 variant from Brazil. The Pfizer vaccine was found to be least against the B.1.351 variant first identified in South Africa.

"Reassuringly, while the levels were lower for the [Brazilian and South African] variants, they were still substantial, and likely to indicate that the vaccine will be effective," Peter English, MD, a consultant in communicable disease control, told Science Focus. And for more on how the Pfizer shot is performing, check out The Pfizer Vaccine Is 100 Percent Effective for People This Age, Study Says.

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As Reuters reports, Pfizer announced a Phase 3 update to its trial data on April 1: their two-dose vaccine is now considered 91 percent effective, a slightly lower overall efficacy rate than previously announced.

The additional data came from 12,000 individuals who had been inoculated for at least six months, as well as "a small subset of study volunteers in South Africa," where the B.1.351 variant is prevalent. While at face value, this may seem to tarnish the results from the initial 44,000 volunteer trial, this news actually confirms that the Pfizer vaccine offers potent protection in an increasingly complicated pandemic landscape.

And for more on how Pfizer is affecting patients, check out The One Side Effect That's Much More Common With Pfizer, Data Shows.

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Though the current Pfizer vaccine appears to offer significant protection against COVID variants, the company reiterated recently that they are still anticipating a need for both booster shots and an upgraded vaccine.

On Feb. 25, the pharmaceutical company announced that they would begin evaluating booster shots in relation to new variants. "We want to be prepared for different scenarios," Ugur Sahin, CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech, which co-created the Pfizer vaccine, said in the announcement. "Therefore, we will be evaluating a second booster in the current regimen as well as preparing for a potential rapid adaption of the vaccine to address new variants which might escape the current version of our mRNA-based vaccine." And for more on the Pfizer vaccine's efficacy, check out The Pfizer Vaccine May Be Less Effective If You Have This Common Condition.


B-1B Lancer Fleet To the Boneyard?

Back to the Title 10 side of the house for a moment the Air Force Council meets today to consider further cuts in aircraft to meet aggressive savings targets laid out by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. One option on the table: early retirement of all 66 B-1B Lancer bombers (the last delivery of which came back in 1988).

Force structure cuts might also extend to the air arm’s much cherished but currently under-utilized fighter force. The service already plans to early retire 250 fighters this year, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said last month gone are 112 F-15s, 134 F-162, and 3 A-10s.

Some of the fighter wings, mainly A-10, are being chopped altogether, while others are transitioning from legacy F-15s to upgraded F-15s or to the fifth-generation F-22 and other wings are prepping to receive the F-35 at some uncertain future date.

“By accepting some short-term risk, we can convert our inventory of legacy fighters and F-22 (Raptors) into a smaller, more flexible and lethal bridge to fifth-generation fighters like the F-35 (Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter),” Donley said.

While short-range tactical fighters (and potentially bombers) are being cut, the Air Force is adding more MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drones and more analysts to scrutinize the massive amounts of imagery they generate.

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I think it's wrong to sacrifice modern aircraft like the F-22 on the altar of the JSF program (in fact, I think the F-35 is a chimera that will prove to be a huge waste of money in the end), but it is important to remember two truisms of military strategy:

1) The military tends to plan for the last war, and
2) The key to a strong military is a strong economy

No one knows what weapons will be required in a future war, nor where and how that war will be fought. (Would anyone have predicted Korea or Vietnam or even the Gulf War a decade earlier?) Given the high cost of modern weapon systems, it is difficult to justify a war machine that dwarfs every other in the world and is designed to win every war we can imagine. Today's military is being asked to play global policeman, a job for which UAV's, satellites and special forces are far better suited than B-1's and ICBM's. It does not necessarily make them obsolete…simply a luxury we cannot afford. Given a healthy economy, we can rebuild these assets if we really need them. But for now, we really don't need them.

I believe the emphasis on our spending should be small numbers of cutting edge weapons (whose production can be ramped up in a crisis) and in the highest possible quality training (and care) for our soldiers. We can build plenty of guns, tanks and planes in a hurry, if we need them, provided that R&D has kept pace. (The exception here is naval vessels, which take years to field) We cannot make good pilots and soldiers overnight. And a well-paid soldier is much better for the economy than a 20- year-old airplane.

In all likelihood, the next war will be fought in an unexpected place with weapons that were never intended to fight there. Our forces will prevail if they have the right stuff. But, as in every war past, the right stuff is superior technology, a strong economy, well-trained and motivated soldiers and a good reason for fighting.


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US Air Force flies B-1 Lancer bombers over East Siberian Sea

BERLIN — The U.S. Air Force flew three B-1 heavy bombers over the East Siberian Sea, north of Russia’s far east, as part of a series of recent maneuvers that the military said Friday are meant to demonstrate American capabilities and ability to support allies, but which a top Russian commander blasted as “hostile and provocative.”

The flight of the three Texas-based U.S. Air Force Reserve B-1 Lancer bombers on Thursday followed a similar mission a week ago in which three B-52 bombers temporarily based in Britain were flown over Ukrainian airspace, near Russia’s southwestern flank.

RELATED
Here’s how Global Strike Command is shifting its focus to China, Russia

U.S. European Command said that following the flight from Texas to the East Siberian Sea, the Lancers landed at a nearby American air base in Alaska.

Stuttgart-based EUCOM said in a statement that the flight, and the deployment of the B-52s to England showcased how U.S.-based assets “can be employed to achieve an operational objective on USEUCOM’s eastern and western flanks.”

“The three Lancers . demonstrated how U.S. strategic bombers are able to support any mission, anywhere around the globe, at a moment’s notice,” Stuttgart-based EUCOM said in a statement.

EUCOM said the "strategic bomber missions clearly illustrated the U.S. Air Force’s ability to continually execute flying missions and sustain readiness in support of our Allies and partners.

345th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron begins BTF mission A B-1 Lancer arrives at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Sept. 10, 2020, in support of a Bomber Task Force mission. The initial mission flew in international airspace near Wrangel Island and the New Siberian Islands off the Russian coast. (Senior Master Sgt. Ted Daigle/Air Force) (Senior Master Sgt. Theodore Daig/307th Bomb Wing)

The U.S. regularly conducts aerial, naval and ground-force maneuvers in and around Europe, but a top Russian military officer said Friday that the number of U.S. and NATO flights near Russia’s borders have increased markedly this year.

Col.-Gen. Sergei Surovikin, who heads Russia’s air force, told reporters Friday that in August alone Russian fighter jets were scrambled on 27 occasions to intercept American and other NATO warplanes over the Baltic, Barents and the Black and Okhotsk Seas.


B-1 'Lancer' Side View 2 of 2 - History

2 Reviews

The Rockwell B-1B "Lancer", affectionately known as the "Bone" to its crews, is a key element of the American Strategic Long Range bomber fleet. A development of the cancelled B-1A, the aircraft - while not technically stealth capable - still presents a fraction of the radar profile of the B-52 and incorporates extremely advanced navigation, weapons, and avionics systems. Its swing wing technology, combined with four 30,000-lb thrust turbofan, engines creates a beautiful, fast, and lethal package. The development of this successor to the B-52 began in the early 1960's and resulted in a contract being awarded to Rockwell in 1970. The B-1A first flew in 1974 but soon ran into political trouble. The project was cancelled in 1977 when only 3 prototypes existed. 1981 saw Ronald Reagan order a fleet of 100 B-1Bs, the last of which were delivered in the early 1990's. Designed for low-level, high speed penetration, the B-1B saw action in the Kosovo conflict and second Gulf War.

For FSX only

  • 4 models spanning the years and 8 faithful paint-schemes:
    • 28th BMS(H), 384th BMW(H), McConnell AFB
    • 46th BMS(H), 319th BMW(H), Grand Forks AFB
    • 37th BMS(H), 28th BMW(H), Ellsworth AFB
    • 128th BS, 116th BW, Robins AFB
    • 34th BS, 366th BW, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho
    • 77th BS, 28th BW, Ellsworth AFB
    • 37th BS, 28th BW, Thumrait AB
    • 9th BS, 7th BW, Bagram AB

    Test of
    Rockwell B-1B Lancer
    Produced by Virtavia

    The Rockwell B-1B Lancer is a four-engine strategic military bomber equipped with variable-sweep wing technology and with a maximum speed of Mach 1.25. Original design was first envisioned in the 1960s as a supersonic, high altitude bomber with sufficient range and payload to replace the B-52 Stratofortress.

    The original replacement for the B-52 was the supersonic B-70 Valkyrie which had a maximum speed of Mach 3 and was able to fly in altitudes similar to the U-2 Spy plane. However when the Sovjet Union developed the ground-to-air missile SAM the US Air Force changed the strategy to the B-1. They developed the B-model for low level penetration and where now able to take advantage of the ground surface as camouflache (terrain masking). By using low level penetration you now avoided the SAM missiles which were of no use at low altitudes.

    Rockwell (now Boeing) built in total 100 B-1B’s but ended the production due to the enormous unit cost that these aircrafts represent. App. US$ 280 million (1998 currency)

    I got this add-on directly from Virtavia – download went without any problems and with a quite good and stable connection. Installation was easy and very user friendly – just follow the install wizard. I downloaded and installed the complete package in less than 10 minutes. Together with this add-on you also get a 37 pages manual, so if you were to have any questions, you already have a lot of information described. This is indeed a huge plus.

    When I opened FSX to find the B-1B I got a pleasant surprise. Virtavia has included a lot of repaints for this model. You have multiple camou versions and also the original gray versions. Lots of repaints which I think is very nice indeed.

    The Model is very nicely made, and if you start with an external view-around you will quickly notice how many fine details that Virtavia has modeled. The textures used are of high quality and the aircraft appears really nice. As far as I could see, Virtavia has animated everything possible. You get all the standards as gear, spoilers, control surfaces etc, but you also get the wing sweep, the moving exhaust blades and the latter for boarding the B-1B. The model is equipped with a very cool afterburner effect which really contributes to add more realism to this model and you now realize that you are dealing with a huge beast of an aircraft.

    Going inside the B-1B you find a very well made virtual cockpit and you can once again see that Virtavia wants and do get, lots and lots of details and animations into the model. You get a virtual cockpit with a super well made depth and what I really like is the fact that this is an elder aircraft and Virtavia has modeled the virtual cockpit as an elder cockpit instead of a brand new one. Again this is a very good detail. Furthermore you have a lot of buttons that actually has a function and are animated and ready for use. Well made systems, high texture quality and a super nice finish. However I do have a small minus regarding the virtual cockpit – well it is not actually the cockpit, but the view from the cockpit. Normally you would be able to see the left wing from the captain’s seat, if the wing was in e.g. landing position, but the wing is not visible. You can see the light on the wingtip but not the wing. I know it is a small detail, but I think it is worth mentioning.

    I have previously tested the Alpha Sims B-1B Lancer for FSX, and this model here from Virtavia is an upgraded version of the old B-1B. This new version is years in front of the old version, and if you have the old version, I would defiantly suggest that you change to this new and modern version. The old version was okay and got a review rating of 3.5/5 stars but the added details in the new version is absolutely superb. E.g. you had empty bomb bays in the old version, but here in this version you have bomb bays filled with era-specific ordnances which are indeed a very cool detail. You also have an auto-deployed slipstream baffle plate to complete the updated version.

    The sound set used is also very good – Virtavia has equipped this B-1B with a fantastic roar, especially when activating the afterburner. You don’t have any doubts that something big and heavy are coming towards you. The sound set is superb both internally and externally. I have compared the sound set with several youtube videos and I can confirm that Virtavia has done an excellent job here. To create a sound set that matches your model is very very important in my opinion. However I do miss some sound effect when taxiing and going down the runway either at take-off or landing. You do have a quite good touch-down sound effect, but after touch-down the effect sounds stop. What I miss here is the sound of the ground roll, the wheels turning on the concrete, the suspension that is shaking etc. I know this also is just a small detail, but these small effects add to even more realism.

    The first test flight was from Edwards AFB (KEDW), California, USA. Here I tested different systems, start-up, taxi, take-off, climb, cruise, decent and landing. You get an incredible superb feeling when starting up this aircraft. The engines that start to roar one by one, and then you apply some thrust to start the taxiing – Yes man – All I now need is a bass shaker underneath my chair, then it would be perfect.

    The B-1B is quite easy to handle during taxi. You can turn it like a caterpillar and this even though you have an aircraft with a length of 146 feet and with a weight of app. 326.000 lbs. The aircraft is very stable and calm during taxi, but you do need to remember that when taxiing such a heavy aircraft it will have an impact on the reaction time when applying the brakes. Furthermore the cockpit is located high above the concrete, but this is actually not an issue when taxiing, but more when landing. You do need to flare the aircraft sooner then you normally would flying smaller aircrafts. Also the pilots are located in front on the nose wheel, which means that you need to calculate your turns when taxiing otherwise you will not be able to keep the aircraft on the taxiway. If you are used to fly and taxi with larger jet airliners as Boeing or Airbus I don’t think this would be an issue.

    Take-off and climb went perfectly. When spooling the engines to maximum and applying the afterburner, the engines begins to roar very violent which I love, but you only gain speed slowly in the beginning, but that is no problem because the B-1B is so easy and stable to control going down the runway. When I got into the air I started a manual climb to get a feeling of the aircraft. The B-1B reacts very quickly on the control surfaces and you quickly get a feeling that you are one with the aircraft. To fly this bird is actually very easy. It stays where you place it and if you change your pitch or course, the aircraft turns steadily. It reacts quickly on the ailerons and elevator but when turning it turns smoothly.

    You can also fly the aircraft on autopilot, but that I think is actually much more challenging than manual flight. This could however be because I’m not that familiar with this autopilot. The autopilot is placed to the left of the captain just below the glare wing, and the first officer has also one place to the right and again just below the glare wing. After using this autopilot a few times, you of cause do get used to it, and it would be an advantage on longer flights, but if you trim the aircraft properly, you don’t have much use of the autopilot – the aircraft is really that steady when flying.

    After flying for about one hour I started my approach to Edwards AFB. The approach and landing cycle went without any problems, but when I reached the final I felt that this was indeed an aircraft that I wasn’t used to fly. Again you need to remember the size of this bird – you cannot just make a Cessna landing and throwing the aircraft down on the runway – No – with a weight this big you need to set it down smoothly otherwise you could end up with damaged gears or what could be even worse.

    To land this B-1B was a challenge and I have to say I was really concentrated the first couple of times that I tried that. If you are a newbie within flightsimming I would not recommend to start with this aircraft. I have my self flown the B747 a lot (virtually) and are very familiar with it, and still I find it challenging to make a proper landing with this B-1B. This I do find to be very positive.

    My second test flight was from Nellis AFB (KLSV), Nevada, USA. Here I wanted to test take-off and landings in different weather conditions and with wind coming from various direction and with different wind speeds. To spice it all up I also tested both morning, day, dusk and night flight.

    I think I flew for more than two hours just making take-off and landings. I probably made 12-15 where some was just touch and go’s. This was indeed a very good exercise and it helped me getting familiar with the B-1B. What I discovered was that no matter which settings I chose, I found the aircraft easy to fly. The wind and rain does not have a huge impact on the B-1B and it just flies perfectly stable. Of cause the setting with thunderstorm and cross wind with busts of severe was a bigger challenge then clear weather and no wind, but when you have landed 7-8 times without issues, then a little thunderstorm should not be a big problem anymore.

    The third test flight became a mission instead. A low level penetration as the B-1B is built to do. To do this I had to go all the way down to the treetops to feel the ground and to gain the terrain masking. I started out from Karup AFB (EKKA), Denmark, with a take-off to the east 270 degrees. After take-off I climbed to my cruise level of 40.000’ and continued flying out over the North Sea. When I reached the cruise altitude I turned 120 degrees to the right and sat my course towards Skagen. I wanted to attack the small airstrip on the island of Anholt, but I wanted to come in from Skagen side instead of just going directly to Anholt from Karup. When I reached Skagen I made a aggressive decent down to +60’ MSL and with an indicated airspeed (IAS) of Mach 0.91 (app. 700 mph). I sat the course directly at Anholt and the route was just next to the island of Læsø. A few seconds later I could see Anholt in the horizon and again just a few seconds later I flew over the airstrip with full throttle with a radio altitude of not more the 100’ – WOW – cool, this was indeed a superb adrenalin kick. I sat the throttle to idle and climbed to 15.000’ with a new course directly back to Karup. This mission was flown with settings of fair weather, wind calm and the time of day and season was an early summer morning.
    After testing this magnificent aircraft I can only say that I am completely satisfied with it. It is worth every penny and I will recommend all simmers to try out this new and improved modern version of the legendary Rockwell B-1B Lancer. It does beat the old version multiple times. Even though I found a few minuses , Virtavia has done a superb job on this model and created an perfect add-on.

    If you do like military aircrafts then this model is a “Must Have” in your virtual hangar. It is indeed a sure winner and is now placed for good in my own virtual hangar. I rate this B-1B with 4.5/5 stars and thank Virtavia for creating this very beautiful and superb add-on.

    As a future project I would very much like to see a payware version / quality of the B-2 Spirit, however there is just a little problem with that which is that no one, except for a few people, has seen the real virtual cockpit, and therefore it will be a challenge to model it. But it could be cool to have both aircrafts in my virtual hangar – This was just an idea.


    B-1A was the original B-1 design with variable-sweep wings and a maximum speed of Mach 2.2 – 4 prototypes were built but the aircraft was never put into actual production.

    B-1B is the B-1 design specified to reduce the aircrafts radar signature and optimized for low level penetration with a maximum speed of Mach 1.25. There were built in total 100 aircrafts, but due to the huge unit cost of more than US$ 280 million, the production was cancelled.

    B-1R is the new version, but it has not yet started production. This is an updated version of the B-1B with more advanced radar systems, air-to-air missiles and new Pratt & Whitney F119 engines. This version will have a maximum speed of Mach 2.2 but with a minimized range of about 20%

    In general:
    Crew 4
    Load ability 56.700kg (125,000lb) (internal & external combined)
    Length 44,5m (146 ft)
    Width Extended = 41,8m (137 ft)
    Swept = 24,1m (79 ft)
    Height 10,4m (34 ft)
    Wing Square 181,2m2 (1,950 ft2)
    Airfoil NA69-190-2
    Empty Weight 87,100kg (192,000lb)
    Max take-off Weight 216,400 kg (326,000lb)
    Engines 4 x General Electric F101-GE-102 forstærkede turbofans
    Dry thrust 69.9kN hver (14,600 lbf)
    Incl efterbrænder 136,92 kN hver (30,780 lbf)
    Fuel Capacity 10.000 US gal (38.000L) for 1-3 interne våben bays hver

    Performance:
    Max Speed High alt= M1,25 (721 kts / 830 mph / 1340 kmh at 50000ft (15000m)
    Low alt= M0,92 (700 mph / 1130 kmh at 200 ft (60m)
    Range 11998km (6478nmi eller 7456 mi)
    Combat Range 5543km (2993nmi eller 3445 mi)
    Service Ceeling 18000m (60 000 ft)
    Wing Load 816 kg/m2 (167 lb/ft2)

    Weapons:
    6 external hard points each with a load capability of 22700kg (50 000 lb) plus 3 internal cargo sloths each with a load capability of 34000kg (75 000 lb)
    o 84× Mk-82 Air inflatable retarder (AIR) general purpose (GP) bombs
    o 81× Mk-82 low drag general purpose (LDGP) bombs
    o 84× Mk-62 Quick strike sea mines
    o 24× Mk-65 naval mines
    o 30× CBU-87/89/CBU-97 Cluster Bomb Units (CBU)
    o 30× CBU-103/104/105 Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD) CBUs
    o 24× GBU-31 JDAM GPS guided bombs (Mk-84 GP or BLU-109 warhead)
    o 15× GBU-38 JDAM GPS guided bombs (Mk-82 GP warhead)
    o 48x GBU-38 JDAM (using rotary launcher mounted multiple ejector racks)
    o 48x GBU-54 LaserJDAM (using rotary launcher mounted multiple ejector racks)
    o 24× Mk-84 general purpose bombs
    o 12× AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW)
    o 96× or 144× GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb GPS guided bombs (not fielded on B-1 yet)
    o 24× AGM-158 Joint Air to Surface Standoff Munitions (JASSM)
    o 24× B61 nuclear variable-yield gravity bombs (no longer carried)
    o 24x B83 nuclear gravity bombs (no longer carried)

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


    US Air Force’s New Stealth Bomber to Replace B-1Bs and B-2s

    The U.S. Air Force plans to mothball B-1Bs and B-2s as the service is shifting funds for its new B-21 stealth bomber.

    The U.S. Air Force (USAF) is preparing to retire its B-1B Lancer and B-2 Spirit fleets in order to free funds for the service’s new long-range stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider, the service said in a February 12 statement.

    The USAF’s Fiscal Year 2019 President’s Budget Request details plans to modify and, once sufficient B-21 Raiders are operational, retire the service’s B-1Bs and B-2s as well as update its B-52 Stratofortress fleet.

    “As part of our decisions presented in the FY19 President’s Budget, the Air Force will update the B-52 bomber fleet and fund development of replacement engines,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather A. Wilson. “We will also continue necessary B-1 and B-2 modifications to keep them relevant until the B-21s come on line.”

    The budget request is still subject to legislative approval.

    “If the force structure we have proposed is supported by the Congress, bases that have bombers now will have bombers in the future,” Wilson added. “They will be B-52s and B-21s.”

    The USAF plans for an initial operating capability of the B-21 in 2025. The new aircraft, currently being developed by U.S. defense contractor Northrup Grumman, will purportedly feature stealth capability, carry both conventional and nuclear payloads, and be optionally manned. The service is expected to procure 80-100 new bombers.

    The B-1B Lancer is currently the most powerful bomber in the USAF’s inventory. “The USAF’s 62 B-1B Lancers are capable of carrying up to 75,000 pounds (34,000 kilograms) of weapons — the largest payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the USAF’s inventory. Though heavily armed, the bomber can reach a top speed of Mach 1.2 and can operate at altitudes above 30,000 feet (9,100 meters),” I explained elsewhere.

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    The USAFs 20 B-2 Spirit stealth bomber are also nuclear-capable and can carry B61 thermonuclear gravity bombs, next to a host of conventional bomb loads. The service’s fleet of 58 B-52 long-range, heavy strategic bombers can carry nuclear-tipped and conventional cruise missiles.

    “The decision to maintain the B-52 is based on numerous factors including maintenance and sustainment metrics, such as aircraft availability, mission capability, supply, maintenance hours per flying hour and total cost perspectives,” the statement reads.

    According to Robin Rand, the USAF’s Global Strike Command commander: “With an adequate sustainment and modernization focus, including new engines, the B-52 has a projected service life through 2050, remaining a key part of the bomber enterprise well into the future.”

    In January, the USAF has redeployed B-52s to Andersen Air Force Base on Guam in the Western Pacific in support of United States Pacific Command’s (USPACOM) continuous bomber presence mission in the Asia-Pacific region replacing B-1B Lancers.

    Overall, the USAF currently operates a fleet of 157 bombers, a 46 percent decrease from 1991 when the service had 290 bombers.


    B-1 bombers are back in Guam for bomber task force deployment

    Strategic bombers are back at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam — less than a month after the Air Force ended its Continuous Bomber Presence mission at Andersen.

    According to the service, a total of four B-1B Lancers and roughly 200 airmen from the 9th Bomb Squadron based out of Dyess Air Force Base in Texas deployed to Andersen on May 1 for a bomber task force rotation.

    “Our wing has conducted, and participated in, a variety of exercises over the last year to ensure we are primed for large-scale missions such as this one,” Col. Ed. Sumangil, 7th Bomb Wing commander, said in an Air Force news release. “We’re excited to be back in Guam and proud to continue to be part of the ready bomber force prepared to defend America and its allies against any threat.”

    The Air Force did not say how long the deployment will last, but it comes as the service is implementing shorter deployments under the dynamic force employment concept. That’s designed to promote operational unpredictability in keeping with the National Defense Strategy unveiled in 2018, the service said.

    As a result, the Air Force Global Strike Command announced on April 17 that strategic bombers would no longer conduct longer, routine rotations out of Andersen as they have done since 2004. According to online military aircraft tracker Aircraft Spots, five B-52Hs had left Guam and were headed to Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota on April 16.

    Even so, Air Force Global Strike Command noted that this change didn’t mean strategic bombers would remain absent from the Indo-Pacific region.

    “U.S. strategic bombers will continue to operate in the Indo-Pacific, to include Guam, at the timing and tempo of our choosing,” Air Force Global Strike Command said in a statement.

    B-1B, F-16, F-2 A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., and F-16 Fighting Falcons from Misawa Air Base, Japan, conducted bilateral joint training with Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) F-2s off the coast of northern Japan, April 22, 2020. (Tech. Sgt. Timothy Moore/Air Force) (Tech. Sgt. Timothy Moore/35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

    In recent weeks, the Air Force has had B-1s perform multiple missions in the Indo-Pacific region. For example, B-1B Lancers from the 28th Bomb Wing based out of Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota conducted bilateral and theater familiarization training near Misawa in Japan with U.S. Air Force F-16 jets and Japanese F-2s and F-15s on April 22.

    A week later two B-1B Lancers also from Ellsworth participated in a sortie over the South China Sea on April 29.

    “The B-1 provides all of the training opportunities which the B-52 [Stratofortress] provided, plus the ability to train to advanced stand-off, anti-surface warfare with [Long Range Anti-Surface Missiles],” Lt. Col. Frank Welton, PACAF’s chief of operations force management, said in an Air Force news release.

    “The B-1 is able to carry a larger payload of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles and a larger payload of 2,000-pound class Joint Direct Attack Munitions,” Welton said. “Additionally, the B-1 is able to carry the LRASM, giving it an advanced stand-off, counter-ship capability. It also has an advanced self-protection suite and is able to transit at supersonic speeds to enhance offensive and defensive capabilities.”


    In message to Vladimir Putin, Biden deploys B-1 bombers to Norway

    Four US Air Force B-1 bombers and approximately 200 personnel from Dyess Air Force in Texas are being deployed to Orland Air Base in Norway.

    As US military is intensifying its focus on the strategically important Arctic region, President Joe Biden is deploying Air Force B-1 bombers to Norway to express to Russia's Vladimir Putin that America will defend allies if Russia shows aggression in the Arctic.

    In a first-of-its-kind deployment for the huge, swing-wing bombers, four US Air Force B-1 bombers and approximately 200 personnel from Dyess Air Force in Texas are being deployed to Orland Air Base in Norway.

    CNN reported that within three weeks, missions will begin in the Arctic Circle and in international airspace off of Russia's northwest coast.

    Watch | Days of the US 'rolling over' are gone: Biden warns China, Russia in first diplomatic speech

    “Operational readiness and our ability to support allies and partners and respond with speed is critical to combined success,” Gen Jeff Harrigian, the commander of US Air Forces in Europe and Africa, was quoted as saying in the statement. “We value the enduring partnership we have with Norway and look forward to future opportunities to bolster our collective defense.”

    “While details of specific missions or numbers of events are not discussed as part of routine operational security standards, US Air Forces in Europe routinely host a variety of U.S. aircraft and units across the theater in support of USEUCOM objectives,” the statement read.

    B-1 Lancer squadron is a supersonic variable-sweep wing, heavy bomber used by the United States Air Force. It is commonly called the "Bone" (from "B-One").[1] It is one of three strategic bombers in the US Air Force fleet as of 2020, the other two being the B-2 Spirit and the B-52 Stratofortress.

    Earlier on February 5, US President Joe Biden confronted China and Russia over authoritarianism and human rights abuses among other issues as he voiced out his foreign policy approach.

    "American leadership must meet this new moment of advancing authoritarianism, including the growing ambitions of China to rival the United States and the determination of Russia to damage and disrupt our democracy. We must meet the new moment . accelerating global challenges from the pandemic to the climate crisis to nuclear proliferation," the US president had said.


    Watch the video: Туполев Ту-160 и Rockwell B-1B. Нельзя сравнить? (January 2022).