Monday, September 25, 2017

The B-1B Bomber: The U.S. Military's Flying Missile Truck

Like many warplanes since the end of the Cold War, the B-1B bomber’s role in American airpower has changed to embrace new missions. Unlike other planes, the B-1’s mission changed even before the first aircraft took off. What started as a high-altitude, high-speed nuclear-penetration bomber has evolved into today’s all-purpose nonnuclear attack aircraft, a jack-of-all-trades with a huge carrying capacity for bombs and air-to-ground missiles.

Unfortunately for the B-1A, it flew directly into unfavorable political winds. Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter considered the bomber wasteful and refused to back it, and the bomber stayed in limbo for the duration of his presidency. President Ronald Reagan, however, elected on a promise to rebuild America’s military, seized upon the optics of a sleek new bomber replacing older, 1960s-era B-52 bombers. The B-1 program was back on.

The B-1B’s large fuselage could conceal a huge amount of weaponry, up to seventy-five thousand pounds of ordnance tucked within three weapons bays. In its original role as a long-range strategic nuclear bomber, the B-1B could carry eight B61 bombs, B83 bombs, or AGM-69A Short Range Attack Missiles per weapon bay. The bomber could also carry another fifty thousand pounds of weapons externally, and external hardpoints were designed to accommodate the AGM-86B Air Launched Cruise Missile.

The B-1B may have lost its cluster-munitions capability, but it still has plenty of other weapons at its disposal. The B-1B can now carry up to twenty-four two-thousand-pound Joint Directed Attack Munition satellite-guided bombs at a time, giving it the capability to strike up to twenty-four separate enemy targets with an accuracy of up to forty-five feet with GPS guidance, or a hundred feet relying on the bomber’s internal navigation system.
The B-1B Bomber: The U.S. Military's Flying Missile Truck Rating: 4.5 Posted by: Minato Namikaze