A first B-1B bomber Lancer has flown to the gigantic United States military aircraft depot of Arizona in what represents the first step in the plan of the United States Air Force o United States Air Force (USAF) to deactivate 17 of its Rockwell (now Boeing) B-1B nuclear attack bombers Lancer in the coming months, reducing the active fleet to just 45 units.
Begin to withdraw the legacy bombers, to make way for the B-21 Raider, It’s something we’ve been working on for some time, General Timothy M. Ray, commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC), said in a press release. Due to the wear and tear suffered by the B-1 fleet over the past two decades, it would cost tens of millions of dollars per aircraft to maintain these bombers to return to status quo, and that alone to fix the problems we know of. We are only accelerating planned retirements, General Ray said.
This announcement was confirmed when a lone B-1B was seen flying over Arizona early last Wednesday; confirming a USAF spokesperson that the aircraft is heading to Davis-Monthan Air Base (Arizona) from Ellsworth Air Base (South Dakota), headquarters of the 28th Bomb Wing (Bomber Wing). Davis-Monthan houses the Boneyard (graveyard), where retired aircraft are kept for parts or future use. It also operates with the B-1 the 7th Bomb Wing, which is based in the Dyess air base (Texas).
In the budget request for fiscal year 2021, USAF proposed to remove 17 B-1B bombers from its current fleet of 62 in order to better keep aircraft more functional. A technical report detailed that a small number of these variable geometry wing bombers are in a condition that would require approximately $ 10 to $ 30 million per plane to return to its initial status quo.
Legislators allowed the service to go ahead with the withdrawals, but asked the AFGSC to provide a new strategy sheet on its bombers detailing how its current bomber aircraft force structure enables the USAF to meet the requirements of its long strike mission scope (conventional and nuclear) foreseen in the National Defense Strategy.
American law requires that bombers stored at Davis-Monthan be kept well enough that their parts can be used for others, or even become operational again, as in the case of some of the B-52Hs stored there. for decades. The USAF spokesman said that, although final details are still being evaluated, 14 bombers will be heading to the Davis-Monthan aircraft depot in late September. Plans for the remaining three are still up in the air, but will most likely be shipped to Edwards Air Force Base, California, for use as weapons and systems test platforms, or to the Tinker Aircraft Facility, Oklahoma for deployment. warehouse management and structural evaluation.
In 2012, the USAF began modifying its integrated combat system or Integrated Battle Station (IBS), probably the biggest and most complicated modernization to see the B-1B. Additionally, the upgrade to the improved navigation and communication system, which was completed in September 2020, cost the service about $ 1.1 billion. However, due to its heavy use in the Middle East and Central Asia for nearly two decades as America’s only heavy-lift supersonic bomber, the fleet of Lancer It has suffered repeated failures and has required extensive maintenance.
In the past two months, B-1B bombers have been seen conducting multiple high-visibility patrols – known dynamic use of the Force – in the Indo-Pacific region, particularly in the East and South China Seas. On the European stage last May, LA bombers 28th Bomb Wing carried out their first training mission over Sweden, near the Arctic and in other scenarios of the Old Continent; also the Lancer they will be deployed to Norway in the next few days for similar training, the USAF reported this month. (Julio Maz Sanz).
Photographer: One of the spectacular B-1B, highlights its system ala de geometra variable. (USAF photo)
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