The long range, multi-role B-1 Lancer began as a replacement for the B-52 Stratofortress in the 1960s. It carries the largest payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the United States Air Force (USAF) inventory. The supersonic strategic bomber can rapidly deliver large quantities of precision and non-prescision weapons against any adversary to any location at any time. Although officially nicknamed the “Lancer”, B-1 crews prefer to call it the “Bone”. The origins of this nickname seem to have come from an early newspaper article about the aircraft, wherein its name was phonetically spelled out as “B-ONE”.
The B-1B production version first flew in October 1984 and has been in service with the USAF since 1986. It is an improved variant initiated in 1981 by the Reagan administration. Major changes included additional structure to increase payload by 74,000 pounds, an improved radar and a radar cross section reduction. The B-1Bs blended wing/body configuration, variable-geometry wings and turbofan afterburning engines all contribute to its long range, maneuverability, high speed and survivability. Its offensive avionics system allows tracking, targeting and engaging moving vehicles as well as self-targeting and terrain-following modes. The final B-1B was delivered on May 2, 1988.
The B-1B was first used in combat during Operation Desert Fox in Iraq in December 1998. In 1999, six aircraft were used in Operation Allied Force, delivering more than 20 percent of the total ordnance while flying less than 2 percent of the combat sorties. B-1Bs were also deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, dropping almost 40 percent of the total tonnage during the first six months. All of this was accomplished while maintaining an impressive 79 percent mission capable rate.
Scale: 1/100 scale model, Wing Span: 16", Length: 17.5"