A Closer Look At The B-1 Bomber

USA World
A B-1B dropping a stick of retarded Mk 82 bombs, fitted with AIR tails.
Photo from Airforce Technology

Popular Mechanics: Why the B-1 Bomber Is Such a Badass Plane

The bomber plane that just wouldn’t die.

In December of 1998, seven years after the final shots of the Persian Gulf War, American pilots found themselves once again flying combat missions over Iraq. While the U.S.’s only supersonic heavy payload bomber had been sidelined throughout the Persian Gulf War, this new mission, dubbed Operation Desert Fox, would be the B-1B Lancer’s combat debut.

The swing-wing bomber was a technological marvel capable of carrying more than two school busses worth of ordnance faster than the speed of sound while occupying less than one percent of the space on an enemy’s radar compared to the B-52 Stratofortress. After decades of stop-and-go development and thirteen more years riding the bench, it was finally time to see what the Bone (as many aircrews took to calling it) could do.


WNU Editor: The era of the B-1 is slowly coming to an end …. There Are Less Than 10 B-1 Bombers Operational In The U.S. Air Force (June 7, 2019).