B-1 Lancer Closes In On KC-135R Stratotanker, Looks Like a Sci-Fi Piece of Hardware

There are many military airplanes out there that look memorable in one way or another, but the B-1 Lancer is probably on most people’s list as “the one looking like a bird from a sci-fi flick.” And the photo we have here illustrates that brilliantly.
B-1 Lancer on refueling op 13 photos
Photo: USAF/Airman 1st Class Moses Taylor
B-1B Lancers en route to Super Bowl LV flyoverB-1B Lancer landing at Naval Support Facility Diego GarciaB-1B Lancer over the Persian GulfB-1B Lancer taking off from UK baseB-1B LancerB-1B LancerB-1B LancerB-1B LancerB-1B LancerB-1B LancerB-1B LancerB-1B Lancer at Edwards Air Force Base
The Lancer is the most capable bomber in the USAF arsenal. Part of the bomber trifecta that also includes the B-2 Spirit and B-52 Stratofortress, it has the capacity of carrying the "largest conventional payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the Air Force inventory.”

Its design is like no other in the industry. It comes with a blended configuration, variable-geometry wings extending far away from the main body, which also holds turbofan afterburning engines, and a very sharp nose extending into the wind.

Created initially as a replacement for the B-52 in the 1970s, the B-1 got canceled a few years into the testing program, only to be reborn as the B-1B not long after that.

There aren’t all that many of them flying in the skies of the world right now, with only 62 having ever been made. Each can carry a payload of 75,000 pounds (34,019 kilograms), at speeds of Mach 1.2.

The top range of the airplane is described by the USAF as “intercontinental,” but if for some reason that’s not enough, aerial refueling is always an option.

The photo we have here shows a B-1 deployed with the 7th Bomber Wing in Texas, closing in on a KC-135R Stratotanker for a refill. The two were captured like this at the beginning of the month, during a Bomber Task Force deployment over the Pacific Ocean.

The 7th Bomber Wing, established in 1947, is headquartered at the Dyess Air Force Base and is one of only two strategic bombardment wings in the USAF to use Lancers.
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Editor's note: Gallery shows other Lancers.

About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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