The Boeing (formerly Rockwell International) B-1B Lancer is the improved variant of the B-1A, which was cancelled in 1977. Initiated in 1981, the first production model of this long-range, multi-role, heavy bomber flew in October 1984. The first operational B-1B was delivered to Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, in June 1985, and the final B-1B was delivered in 1988.
The B-1B's blended wing/body configuration, variable-geometry design and turbofan engines combined to provide greater range and high speed -- more than 900 mph (Mach 1.2) at sea level. Forward wing settings were used for takeoff, landing and high-altitude maximum cruise. Aft wing settings were used in high subsonic and supersonic flight, which also enhanced the aircraft's maneuverability.
The B-1B employed forward-looking radar and terrain-following radar. It also had an indicator for moving ground targets. Its extremely accurate Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System, Doppler radar and a radar altimeter enabled aircrews to navigate accurately around the world without ground-based navigation aids.
Its three internal weapons bays could accommodate up to 84 Mk-82 general purpose bombs or Mk-62 naval mines, 30 CBU-87/89 cluster munitions or CBU-97 Sensor Fused Weapons, and up to 24 GBU-31 JDAM GPS guided bombs or Mk-84 general purpose bombs. Able to update target information in flight, the B-1B could deliver weapons precisely in a changing combat environment.
First used in combat against Iraq during Operation Desert Fox in 1998, the B-1B has also been employed in Kosovo and Afghanistan. Starting in 2002, the U.S. Air Force began reducing the number of B-1Bs as a cost-saving measure.
The aircraft on display arrived at the museum from the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, on Sept. 10, 2002.
TECHNICAL NOTES: Crew: Four (aircraft commander, copilot, offensive systems officer, defensive systems officer) Engines: Four General Electric F-101-GE-102 turbofan engines of 30,000+ lbs. thrust each, with afterburner Wingspan: 137 ft. extended forward, 79 ft. swept aft Length: 146 ft. Height: 34 ft.