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B-1 Bombers Are Ready For Battle, Here’s Proof

The B-1 Lancer (nickname Bone) proved itself during Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.  The bomber was a continuous presence in the Middle East from 2001 through 2015.  With swept wings and 4 large afterburing engines, the mighty Bone has a top speed of Mach 1.25 with a max takeoff weight of 477,000 lbs.

The B-1 is based at Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, Texas and Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.  B-1s also rotate through Anderson Air Base in Guam. From Guam, they are capable of projecting power on the Korean Peninsula.  In recent weeks, they have conducted shows of force over South Korea near the DMZ.
The B-1B can be equipped with 24 conventional 2,000lb bombs or 15 500lb GBU-38 JDAM missiles. The B-1 was also nuclear capable but the fusing and accompanying hardware were removed in 1995.  With refueling, the Bone has unlimited range.

The Rockwell B1-B Lancer was manufactured by Rockwell International, which is now a part of Boeing. The B-1B entered service on October 1st of 1986 with the United States Air Force (USAF) Strategic Air Command as a nuclear bomber. The B1-B had a unit cost of about $283 million back in 1998. Roughly 100 Rockwell B1-B aircraft were built. 62 are currently in service.

Editors note: An earlier version of this article stated that the B-1 is nuclear capable.  While the B-1 was originally designed with this capability, the equipment required for this capability was removed in the mid-1990s.

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