B-1 Lancer

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The original B-1A was retired because of its large radar cross-section. To make the B-1 less vulnerable, modifications were made resulting in the B-1B. The B-1B is a long-range strategic bomber, capable of flying intercontinental missions without refueling, and then penetrating sophisticated enemy defenses.

The first B-1B was delivered to the Air Force in June 1985 and was made operational on 1 October 1986. The last B-1B was delivered on 2 May 1988.

The B-1B's electronic jamming equipment, infrared countermeasures, radar location and warning systems, and low-radar cross-section, form an integrated defense system for the aircraft. The swing-wing design and turbofan engines provide greater range and high speed at low levels and also help the bomber's survivability. When the wings are swept at the full-forward position, a short takeoff roll and a fast base-escape profile for airfields under attack can be accomplished.

Many modifications are being studied on the B-1B aircraft. Many of these modifications that are designed to make the aircraft better in a combat situation are known as the conventional mission upgrade program. This program will increase the lethality, survivability and supportability of the B-1B fleet.

B-1 Specifications
Primary FunctionLong-range, multi-role, heavy bomber
ContractorRockwell International, North American Aircraft
Operations Air Frame and IntegrationOffensive avionics, Boeing Military Airplane; defensive avionics, AIL Division
Power PlantFour General Electric F-101-GE-102 turbofan engine with afterburner
Thrust30,000-plus pounds with afterburner, per engine
Length146 feet (44.5 meters)
Height34 feet (10.4 meters)
Wingspan137 feet (41.8 meters) extended forward, 79 feet (24.1 meters) swept aft
Speed900-plus mph (Mach 1.2 at sea level)
CeilingMore than 30,000 feet (9,144 meters)
WeightEmpty: approximately 190,000 pounds (86,183 kilograms)
Maximum Takeoff Weight477,000 pounds (216,634 kilograms)
RangeIntercontinental, unrefueled
CrewFour (aircraft commander, pilot, offensive systems officer and defensive systems officer)
Date DeployedJune 1985
Unit Cost$200-plus million per aircraft
InventoryActive force, 51 primary mission aircraft inventory (PMAI), 72 (actual), 2 (test); ANG, 18 PAA (20 actual); Reserve, 0


All Information gathered from Air Force Link.