Translated by BabelFish
Designated successor of mythical bomber B-52 Stratofortress of Strategic Air Command, the bomber with variable geometry B-1 Lancer (lancer) knew a long and contrasted development. Conceived at the end of the Sixties by the firm North American, it was retained in 1970 for the program of bomber controlled strategic AMSA (Advanced Manned Strategic Aircraft) called to take the continuation of the late program of supersonic bomber B-70 Valkyrie in the American nuclear Triad. It acted, at the time, to build a strategic bomber flying at Mach 2 in altitude and Mach 1,2 on the sea level. Four B -1A experimental were built since 1974. But launching in series of this bomber B-1A was stopped semi-1977, because of a strong drift of the cost of the program.
It was then started again by the Reagan administration in 1981, in a somewhat different form and especially much less ambitious, in order to counter the Soviet strategic bombers You-160 Blackjack. The version B-1B, designed by Rockwell, the successor of North American, initially saw its four engines changing and its reduced supersonic capacities of half. Redefined to achieve missions of nuclear and conventional bombardment at low altitude under the cover of the Soviet radars, the current plane is heavier, slower, but more discrete.
The end of the nuclear power
In 1981, the Pentagon obtained government to place a total order of 100 B-1B - divided into five sections from respectively 1, 7, 10, 34 and 48 apparatuses - having to be delivered before the setting in production of the ATB (the B-2 future). The first B-1B accomplished its inaugural flight in October 1984 and the first specimens were delivered to the 96e Bomb Wing de Dyess AFB (Texas), in June 1985. This squadron was declared operational fifteen months later, October the 1", 1986. Less than two years later, Rockwell delivered the hundredth and last B -1B with the US Air Force and, at the end of 1988, the production of this bomber was definitively stopped after rate had reached a bomber per week!
In service, B -1B Lancer equipped four squadrons with USAF with nuclear vocation. Since the dissolution of the SAC (Strategic Air Command) in 1991, these bombers were transferred with the Air Fights Command and ten of them equips since 1996 the 184e Bomb Group with the National Air Guard with Kansas, a unit of reservists.
Initially armed in priority for the strategic nuclear mission, the B-1B today are exclusively used for the traditional bombardment.
A formidable machine of war
Even if the performances in cruising of the B-1B with average altitude are penalized by a very high wing load and unfavourable a weight-push ratio without afterburning, this bomber is a formidable machine of war able to carry up to 50 T of ammunition distributed in its three compartments and its wing points of carrying.
Implemented by a crew of four men (two pilots and two operators system of weapon), the B-1B can, thanks to its radar with electronic sweeping Westinghouse APQ164, to fly as a blind man in mode "followed of ground" at a speed close to 1.000 km/h and to less than 100 m to altitude. It is also given very powerful electronic countermeasures joined together around the GARLIC.
ALQ161 The B-1B had their baptism of fire ten years after the stop of the production. It was in December 1998, at the time of the operation "Desert Fox" against Iraq. They were then engaged in the operation "Forces Allied" in Kosovo in 1999. In March 2003, the B-1B Throw, opèrant starting from Oman, are turned over to Iraq where they launched tens of cruise missiles.