I was a Sergeant in the Air Force back in 1984 at Offutt Air Force base in Nebraska working for the Strategic Air Command’s intelligence wing. One day in particular sticks out in my mind there; we were let out of work early to go see the unveiling of the Air Force’s newest bomber – the B1-B. A few of my fellow service members and I were standing along the runway viewing area looking at our watches because it was a few minutes past the time the aircraft was supposed to arrive. All of a sudden this huge beast of an aircraft comes out of nowhere, flying just off the deck and then changes direction and goes almost into a full vertical climb. It is a sight that still gives me chills when I think about how spectacular it was back then. A few months later, the B1-B was officially delivered into the Air Force and it has been a workhorse ever since.
That brings up the question of why you never hear that much about the tasks this aircraft performs these days. Many people do not realize that its precision guided bombs have been a large part of the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, so much so that the beleaguered aircraft that have been fighting there needed to be replaced by some B-52’s so they could return to the USA for some badly needed maintenance and upgrades.
With such a big workload and high rate of mission success, you would think you would hear more about these magnificent flying machines and the men and women who fly them and keep them flying. Sure, it does not have the reputation of awesome past displays of firepower such as the B-52 or the impressive stealth capability of the B-2; but let’s give this supersonic aircraft that can fly in excess of 900 miles per hour credit where credit is due for a change. This aircraft has flown an impressive amount of sorties over both Iraq and Afghanistan in the wars that were fought there. An example of this is in the 1st Gulf War when the aircraft flew only 2% of the total sorties in the war, yet it still was responsible for a dropping a whopping 40% of the ordinance during the entire war.
The B1-B was originally designed in the 1970’s as what was to become the modern successor to the aging B-52 fleet. The aircraft was built with adjustable swept wings so it could spread the wings for high altitude cruises to avoid enemy missiles or close the wings in tight to initiate its supersonic flight speed. It can carry a wide variety of bombs in its huge payload bays and these include both precision guided and non-precision guided bombs. The aircraft also has a high survivability rate due to a large assortment of both electronic and heat sensing counter warfare measures. It is a highly versatile aircraft that can integrate seamlessly with other forces and successfully execute both low and high altitude missions.
Let’s give a shout out to the men and women who have, and those men and women who still do, flown this aircraft and perform the maintenance that keeps it flying every day in defense of this great nation.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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