Saturday, February 24, 2024

This is the B-1B Lancer, the supersonic strategic bomber with which the US attacked Syria and Iraq

The B-1B Lancer, used by the United States for its attacks against pro-Iranian positions in Iraq and Syria, is a long-range heavy strategic bomber that can carry the largest conventional load of guided and unguided weapons in the USAF inventory. This multi-mission aircraft is the backbone of the United States’ long-range bomber force. It can rapidly launch large numbers of precision and non-precision weapons against any enemy, anywhere in the world, at any time.

It is a four-engine variable geometry wing in use by the USAF since 1986. Originally conceived in the 1960s as a supersonic bomber with sufficient range and payload capacity to replace the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress at the end of the 1980s. for low-level attacks with long range and high-altitude supersonic flight capabilities,.

Designed by Rockwell International, the development of this bomber was delayed several times throughout its history because the theory of strategic balance changed from a flexible response to mutually assured destruction and back again. After the construction of only four prototypes of the first version, the B-1A, the project was canceled, which reappeared a few years later with the B-1B version in 1980, designed especially for low-level raid bombing. It entered service in 1986 with the USAF Strategic Air Command as a nuclear bomber.

One of its main advantages is the ability to carry weapons. The three bomb bays in its fuselage can carry 34,000 kg of bombs or missiles. In addition, each of these handles can be used with rotating launchers. As if that wasn’t enough, it also has six external supports where it can load another 23,000 kilograms of weapons.

In the 1990s, the B-1B was modified for use as a conventional bomber. It first saw combat during Operation Desert Fox in 1998 and then in the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia the following year. The B-1B continues to support US and NATO military forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In 1999, six B-1s were used in Operation Allied Force, the Atlantic Alliance’s operation against Yugoslavia, delivering more than 20% of the total ordnance while flying less than 2% of the combat sorties. During the first six months of Operation Enduring Freedom, launched by the United States and its allies against Afghanistan after 9/11, eight B-1s dropped nearly 40% of the total tonnage delivered by the coalition air force. It includes around 3,900 JDAMs. In Operation Iraqi Freedom, the aircraft flew less than 1% of the combat missions while delivering 43% of the JDAMs used.

The B-1 Lancer is the supersonic component of the USAF’s long-range bomber force, along with the subsonic B-52 Stratofortress and B-2 Spirit. B-1 is often referred to as “Bone” (originally “B-One”). After the retirement of the General Dynamics/Grumman EF-111A Raven in 1998 and the Grumman F-14 Tomcat in 2006, the B-1B is the only variable geometry wing aircraft active in the United States Armed Forces.

Its smallest swept wing configuration (wings spread) is used for takeoffs, landings, and maintaining normal cruising speed at high altitude. The highest configuration of the bow is used to achieve transonic and supersonic speeds at high and low altitudes, increasing its maneuverability, fuel economy at high speeds, and amazing capacity at deep dives. attack to enter at low altitudes.

It consists of four crew members in a 2 + 2 position: pilot, co-pilot, offensive systems officer and defensive systems officer, radar and electronic countermeasures officer; with three internal weapons bays, two behind the cockpit, under the central fuselage, and another between the engines, with rotating missile and bomb launchers, designed to launch a variety of different missiles and bombs, guided by lasers and GPS satellites.

The B-1B’s synthetic aperture radar is capable of tracking, targeting, and attacking moving vehicles, as well as self-targeting and following terrain modes. In addition, an inertial navigation system assisted by a more accurate global positioning system allows aircrews to navigate without the help of ground-based navigation aids as well as engage targets. with a high degree of accuracy. The addition of a fully integrated data link (FIDL) with Link-16 capability provides additional battlefield and above-line-of-sight security. In the targeting environment, the crew can use targeting data received from the Combined Air Operations Center or other command and control assets to quickly and efficiently engage emerging targets.

Its ALQ-161 electronic countermeasures system detects and identifies the entire spectrum of enemy threat emitters and then applies the appropriate jamming technique, either automatically or through operator input.

The current changes are based on this basis. Radar maintenance and capability upgrades will provide a more reliable system and can be upgraded in the future to include ultra-high resolution capability and automatic target identification. The addition of Link-16 and FIDL, along with accompanying cockpit upgrades, will provide the crew with a more flexible integrated cockpit and allow the B-1 to operate on the integrated battlefield in the future. Many old and difficult-to-maintain electronic systems were also replaced to improve the aircraft’s reliability.

The B-1B is expected to remain in service until 2025, when it will be supplemented by the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider.

Main features

  • Primary role: Heavy, multi-role, long-range bomber
  • Contractor: Boeing, North America (formerly Rockwell International, North American Aircraft); Offensive avionics, Boeing military aircraft; Defensive Avionics, EDO Corporation
  • Power plant: Four General Electric F101-GE-102 turbofan engines with afterburner
  • Thrust: Over 30,000 pounds with afterburner, per engine
  • Wingspan: 41.8 meters extended forward, 24.1 meters swept back
  • Height: 44.5 meters
  • Height: 10.4 meters
  • Weight: about 86,183 kilograms
  • Maximum takeoff weight: 216,634 kilograms
  • Fuel capacity: 120,326 liters
  • Payload: 34,019 kilos
  • Speed: Mach 1.2 at sea level
  • Scope: Intercontinental
  • Ceiling: 9,144 meters
  • Armament: 84 Mk-82 500-pound general purpose bombs or 24 Mk-84 2,000-pound general purpose bombs; up to 84 500-pound Mk-62 naval mines or 8 2,000-pound Quick Strike Mk-65 naval mines; 30 cluster munitions (CBU-87, -89, -97) or 30 wind-corrected ammunition dispensers (CBU-103, -104, -105); up to 24 GBU-31 2,000-pound joint direct attack munitions or 15 GBU-38 500-pound joint direct attack munitions; up to 24 AGM-158A joint air-to-ground standoff missiles; 15 GBU-54 joint laser direct attack munitions
  • Crew: four (aircraft commander, co-pilot and two combat systems officers)
  • Unit cost: 317 million dollars
  • Initial operational capability: October 1986
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