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29/04/2008
20 years of the last deliver of a B-1B Lancer

May 2 marks 20 years since the last B-1B Lancer was delivered to the Air Force, and today commanders consider it one of the most valuable aircraft in Iraq.
Since 2003, the once-nuclear-weapon-carrying bomber has maintained a continuous presence in Southwest Asia after the Air Force modified it to carry numerous conventional bombs.
The Lancer`s efficiency in urban ground combat is peculiar considering its designers never envisioned it for such a job, said Lt. Col. James Johnson, Air Combat Command B-1 weapons system chief. The bomber, he said, was designed to make flights around the globe from four garrison bases to deliver nuclear ordnance. Now it`s an inter-theater aircraft trading long-range sorties for loiter time in Iraqi air space.
Operating at approximately 20,000 feet, the B-1 waits patiently with up to 35 tons of precision-guided bombs. When ground troops encounter the enemy it can engage in minutes because of its readiness and speed.
In the first six months of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the bomber delivered almost 40 percent of the bomb tonnage in only five percent of the sorties. Nearly five years later, the B-1 sorties increased by 25 percent, and Air Force officials dubbed it the most valuable aircraft for OIF in March 2007.
Other accomplishments of the B-1 include the breaking of 51 world records. Sergeant Klein said many of these records include carrying large amounts of weight at fast speeds from one point to another.


Source: USAF





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