Posts Tagged ‘B-1 Bomber’

Lancer Rides the Clouds

November 30, 2008

A US Air Force B-1 Lancer strategic bomber soars over an unbroken layer of clouds.

Find this and other exciting images as posters, framed art prints, 2009 calendars, and greeting card sets. Visit the PatriArt Gallery today — your one-stop shopping site for military and patriotic themed holiday gifts. Worldwide delivery available.

Defense secretary: Nuke capability critical to deterrence

October 31, 2008
Star of Abilene

Star of Abilene

B-1 Bomber “Star of Abilene” reminds us that power and beauty can go together. Put this beautiful and powerful instrument of American airpower on your wall. Buy the poster, framed art print, or 2009 calendar at The PatriArt Gallery

 

Calling nuclear weapons one of the world’s “messy realities,” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here Oct. 28 that as long as others who could potentially threaten the United States possess or seek them, it’s critical that the United States does as well, and that they be kept safe, secure and reliable. 

“As long as others have nuclear weapons, we must maintain some level of these weapons ourselves,” Secretary Gates noted in a speech to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 

This, he said, “will deter potential adversaries while reassuring over two dozen allies and partners who rely on the U.S. strategic umbrella for their own security.”

The United States soon will have 75 percent fewer nuclear weapons than at the end of the Cold War, he said. But while endorsing more non-nuclear deterrence and response options, modern-day threats require the country to preserve what former President Bill Clinton called a “lead and hedge strategy.”

“We’ll lead the way in reducing our arsenal, but we must always hedge against the dangerous and unpredictable world,” he said. “The power of nuclear weapons and their strategic impact is a genie that cannot be put back in the bottle, at least for a very long time. While we have a long-term goal of abolishing nuclear weapons once and for all, given the world in which we live, we have to be realistic about that proposition.”

The secretary cited threats posed by rising and resurgent powers, rouge nations pursuing nuclear weapons, proliferation and international terrorism.

“There is no way to ignore efforts by rogue states such as North Korea and Iran to develop and deploy nuclear weapons, or Russian and Chinese strategic modernization programs,” Secretary Gates said. “As long as other nations have or seek nuclear weapons — and can potentially threaten us, our allies and friends — then we must have a deterrent capacity that makes it clear that challenging the United States in the nuclear arena, or with weapons of mass destruction, could result in an overwhelming, catastrophic response.” 

The United States continues to keep the number of nuclear states as limited as possible, the secretary said, citing “real successes” during the past 45 years through nonproliferation and arms-control efforts. He noted that many countries have opted not to seek nuclear weapons, recognizing that the U.S. nuclear capability protects them.

“Our nuclear umbrella — our extended deterrent — underpins our alliances in Europe and the Pacific and enables our friends, especially those worried about Tehran and Pyongyang, to continue to rely on our nuclear deterrent rather than to develop their own,” he said.

But possessing nuclear weapons means accepting the responsibilities involved, Secretary Gates said, citing problems that arose last year over the Air Force’s handling of nuclear weapons and related material.

He cited remedies being put into place:
— A new office within the Air Staff will focus exclusively on nuclear policy and oversight and report directly to the Air Force chief of staff.
— The Air Force’s proposed Global Strike Command would bring all nuclear weapons and material supporting U.S. Strategic Command under one entity.
— The Nuclear Weapons Center at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., has been revitalized and expanded, with clearly understood chains of command to prevent repeats of pass problems.
— The Air Force is undergoing a full review to provide better control of nuclear-related components, and placing them under the Nuclear Weapons Center’s control.
— A new, centralized process within the Air Force will ensure proper handling of nuclear material and provide expanded training for those charged with securing it.

Secretary Gates conceded the effort will be “a long-term process,” but said he is confident the Air Force “is now moving in the right direction.” He expressed thanks to the Airmen working to return the Air Force’s nuclear mission “to the standards of excellence for which it was known throughout the Cold War.”

Meanwhile, he said he looks forward to recommendations from a task force he formed to review nuclear enterprise oversight.

Secretary Gates confirmed that U.S. nuclear weapons are safe, secure and reliable, but said failure to look ahead to the future leaves a “bleak” long-term prognosis. No one has designed a new nuclear weapon in the United States since the 1980s, and veteran nuclear weapons designers and technicians are steadily moving into retirement, with no one following behind.

“The United States is the only declared nuclear power that is neither modernizing its nuclear arsenal nor has the capability to produce a new nuclear warhead,” Secretary Gates said. He also expressed concern that the country is not replacing its existing stockpile.

Congress’ refusal to fund a joint Defense Department and Energy Department program to field a safer, more secure warhead leaves the United States lacking, he said.

“The program we propose is not about new capabilities,” he said. “It is about safety, security and reliability. It is about the future credibility of our nuclear deterrent, and it deserves urgent attention.”

Donna Miles (AFPS)

B-1B Lancer

August 24, 2008

B-1B Lancer

B-1B Lancer

The US Air Force B-1B Lancer long-range strategic bomber soars over the clouds — get the B-1 Lancer poster, framed print, or calendar at the PatriArt Gallery.

Mission
Carrying the largest payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the Air Force inventory, the multi-mission B-1 is the backbone of America’s long-range bomber force. It can rapidly deliver massive quantities of precision and non-precision weapons against any adversary, anywhere in the world, at any time.

Features
The B-1B’s blended wing/body configuration, variable-geometry wings and turbofan afterburning engines, combine to provide long range, maneuverability and high speed while enhancing survivability. Forward wing settings are used for takeoff, landings, air refueling and in some high-altitude weapons employment scenarios. Aft wing sweep settings – the main combat configuration — are typically used during high subsonic and supersonic flight, enhancing the B-1B’s maneuverability in the low- and high-altitude regimes. The B-1B’s speed and superior handling characteristics allow it to seamlessly integrate in mixed force packages. These capabilities, when combined with its substantial payload, excellent radar targeting system, long loiter time and survivability, make the B-1B a key element of any joint/composite strike force. The B-1 weapon system is capable of creating a multitude of far-reaching effects across the battlefield.

The B-1 is a highly versatile, multi-mission weapon system. The B-1B’s offensive avionics system includes high-resolution synthetic aperture radar, capable of tracking, targeting and engaging moving vehicles as well as self-targeting and terrain-following modes. In addition, an extremely accurate Global Positioning System-aided Inertial Navigation System enable aircrews to autonomously navigate globally, without the aid of ground-based navigation aids as well as engage targets with a high level of precision. The recent addition of Combat Track II radios permit an interim secure beyond line of sight reach back connectivity until Link-16 is integrated on the aircraft. In a time sensitive targeting environment, the aircrew can receive targeting data from the Combined Air Operations Center over CT II, then update mission data in the offensive avionics system to strike emerging targets rapidly and efficiently. This capability was effectively demonstrated during operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

The B-1B’s self-protection electronic jamming equipment, radar warning receiver (ALQ-161) and expendable countermeasures (chaff and flare) system complements its low-radar cross-section to form an integrated, robust onboard defense system that supports penetration of hostile airspace. The ALQ-161 electronic countermeasures system detects and identifies the full spectrum of adversary threat emitters then applies the appropriate jamming technique either automatically or through operator manual inputs. Chaff and flares are employed against radar and infrared threat systems.

B-1 capabilities are being enhanced through the completion of the Conventional Mission Upgrade Program. This program has already improved lethality by adding the ability to carry up to 30 cluster munitions (CBU-87, -89, -97), a Global Positioning System receiver, an improved weapons interface that allows the carriage of Joint Direct Attack Munitions guided weapons and advanced secure radios (ARC-210). Survivability is enhanced through the addition of the ALE-50 Towed Decoy System which decoys advanced radar guided surface-to-air and air-to-air missile systems.

The CMUP adds improved avionics computers which allow the employment of additional advanced guided precision and non-precision weapons: 30 Wind-Corrected Munitions Dispensers (CBU-103, -104, -105 WCMD), 12 AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapons or 24 AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile. The B-1 will be able to carry and employ any mix of these weapons (a different type of weapon in each of the three weapons bays). The B-1 will also be the first platform to carry the extended range version of the JASSM. These modifications significantly increase B-1 combat capability.

Future planned modifications build on this foundation provided by the new avionics computers. Radar sustainability and capability upgrades will provide a more reliable system in addition to an ultra high-resolution capability that may include automatic target recognition features. The addition of Link-16 will allow the B-1 to operate in the integrated battlefield of the future. Cockpit modifications will relieve reliability problems and increase aircrew situational awareness and provide an integrated flow of information.

Background
The B-1A was initially developed in the 1970s as a replacement for the B-52. Four prototypes of this long-range, high speed (Mach 2.2) strategic bomber were developed and tested in the mid-1970s, but the program was canceled in 1977 before going into production. Flight testing continued through 1981.

The B-1B is an improved variant initiated by the Reagan administration in 1981. Major changes included the addition of additional structure to increase payload by 74,000 pounds, an improved radar and reduction of the radar cross section by an order of magnitude. The inlet was extensively modified as part of this RCS reduction, necessitating a reduction in maximum speed to Mach 1.2.

The first production B-1 flew in October 1984, and the first B-1B was delivered to Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, in June 1985. Initial operational capability was achieved on Oct. 1, 1986. The final B-1B was delivered May 2, 1988.

The B-1B holds almost 50 world records for speed, payload, range, and time of climb in its class. The National Aeronautic Association recognized the B-1B for completing one of the 10 most memorable record flights for 1994. The most recent records were made official in 2004.

The B-1B was first used in combat in support of operations against Iraq during Operation Desert Fox in December 1998. In 1999, six B-1s 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. Eight B-1s were deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. B-1s dropped nearly 40 percent of the total tonnage during the first six months of OEF. This included nearly 3,900 JDAMs, or 67 percent of the total. All of this was accomplished while maintaining an impressive 79 percent mission capable rate.

General Characteristics
Primary Function: Long-range, multi-role, heavy bomber
Contractor: Boeing, North America (formerly Rockwell International, North American Aircraft); Offensive avionics, Boeing Military Airplane; defensive avionics, EDO Corporation
Power plant: Four General Electric F101-GE-102 turbofan engine with afterburner
Thrust: 30,000-plus pounds with afterburner, per engine
Wingspan: 137 feet (41.8 meters) extended forward, 79 feet (24.1 meters) swept aft
Length: 146 feet (44.5 meters)
Height: 34 feet (10.4 meters)
Weight: approximately 190,000 pounds (86,183 kilograms)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 477,000 pounds (216,634 kilograms)
Fuel Capacity: 265,274 pounds (120,326 kilograms)
Payload: 75,000 pounds ( 34,019 kilograms)
Speed: 900-plus mph (Mach 1.2 at sea level)
Range: Intercontinental
Ceiling: More than 30,000 feet (9,144 meters)
Armament: 24 GBU-31 GPS-aided JDAM (both Mk-84 general purpose bombs and BLU-109 penetrating bombs) or 24 Mk-84 2,000-pound general purpose bombs; 8 Mk-85 naval mines; 84 Mk-82 500-pound general purpose bombs; 84 Mk-62 500-pound naval mines; 30 CBU-87, -89, -97 cluster munitions; 30 CBU-103/104/105 WCMD, 24 AGM-158 JASSMs or 12 AGM-154 JSOWs.
Crew: Four (aircraft commander, copilot, and two weapon systems officers)
Unit Cost: $283.1 million (fiscal 98 constant dollars)
Initial operating capability:  October 1986
Inventory: Active force, 65 (test, 2); ANG, 0; Reserve, 0

Data: USAF