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 1970s, but the program was canceled in 1977 before going into production. Flight testing continued through 1981.
The B-1B holds 43 world records for speed, payload, range, and time of climb. The National Aeronautic Association recognized the B-1B for completing one of the 10 most memorable record flights for 1994.
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.
Contractor: Rockwell International, North American Aircraft
Crew: Four (aircraft commander, pilot, offensive systems officer and defensive systems officer)
Unit Cost: $283.1 million
Four General Electric F-101-GE-102 turbofan engines with afterburner (30,000-plus pounds with afterburner each)
Length: 146 feet (44.5 meters)
Wingspan: 137 feet (41.8 meters) extended forward /
79 feet (24.1 meters) swept aft
Height: 34 feet (10.4 meters)
Empty: 190,000 lb (86,183 kg)
Maximum Takeoff: 477,000 lb (216,634 kg)
Speed: 900-plus mph (Mach 1.2 at sea level)
Ceiling: 30,000+ feet (9,144+ meters)
Range: Intercontinental, unrefueled
Up to 84 Mark 82 conventional 500-pound bombs, or 30 CBU-87/89/97, or ZX JDAMS. Also can be reconfigured to carry a wide range of nuclear weapons.
First Flight: December 23, 1974 (B-1A)
October 18, 1984 (B-1B)
End of Service: N/A
Number Built: 104