Rockwell International B-1B

  • By

The B-1B aircraft, designed and manufactured by Rockwell International, is a long-range supersonic bomber with the capability of high-speed flight at low-level altitude.

The aircraft has a blended wing-body concept with variable-sweep wings, a single vertical stabilizer with a three-section (upper, intermediate, and lower) rudder, and horizontal stabilators which operate independently to provide pitch and roll control. The variable-sweep (15 to 67.5 degrees) wing is equipped with slats, spoilers (which also function as speed brakes), and flaps which provide the aircraft with a highly versatile operating envelope. Structural mode control vanes mounted on each side of the forward fuselage are part of the Structural Mode Control System (SMCS) which reduces structural bending oscillations in the longitudinal and lateral axes.

The aircraft is powered by four General Electric (F-101-GE-102) dual-rotor afterburning turbofan engines in the 30,000-pound thrust class. The engines are mounted in twin nacelles below the wing near the left and right wing pivot points. Four Accessory Drive Gearboxes (ADGs), each shaft-driven by a corresponding engine, are mounted in separate compartments forward of the engines. ADGs 2 and 4 may also be driven by the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) on their respective side (there are two APUs, one mounted in each twin nacelle). The ADGs drive the hydraulic pumps on all four engines and the aircraft generators on engines 1,2, and 4. There is no generator associated with engine 3.

The crew compartment provides for a basic complement of four crewmembers. There are provisions for seating an instructor pilot between and slightly aft of the pilot and copilot station, and for an avionics instructor between and slightly aft of the Offensive Systems Officer (OSO) and Defensive Systems Officer (DSO) stations. Individual ejection seats are provided for primary crewmembers and bottom bailout is provided for the instructors. Avionics equipment is located in the forward avionics compartment, wing glove avionics compartments, wheel well avionics compartments, central avionics compartment, and aft avionics compartment. Stores may be carried in three bays, two forward of the wing carry-through and one aft of the main landing gear wheel well.

The museum has a B-1B on display in the Cold War Gallery.

Type Number built/
B-1B 100 High-speed, low-altitude bomber

Armament: Up to 84 Mk 82 500-lb. bombs and 30 CBU-87/89/97 of conventional munitions, or a wide range of nuclear weapons
Engines: Four General Electric F101-GE-102 afterburning turbofans of 30,000 lbs. thrust each
Maximum speed: Approx. 900 mph (Mach 1.2)
Cruising speed: Approx. .9 Mach
Range: Approx. 7,500 miles/6,500 nautical miles without refueling
Service ceiling: Approx. 60,000 ft. 
Span: 137 ft. fully spread (15° position); 79 ft. fully swept (67.5° position)
Length: 146 ft.
Height: 34 ft.
Weight: 470,000 lbs. maximum take off weight
Crew: Four (aircraft commander, pilot, offensive systems officer and defensive systems officer)
Serial numbers: 82-0001 (Lot I); 83-0065 to 83-0071 (Lot II); 84-0049 to 84-0058 (Lot III); 85-0059 to 85-0092 (Lot IV); 86-0093 to 86-0140 (Lot V)

Click on the following links to learn more about the B-1B.

B-1B Upgrade Programs

Click here to return to the Bomber Aircraft index.