The plane was originally designed to carry nuclear weapons, but given how they were fortunately not needed so far, it was transformed into a more conventional bomber. With a wingspan of 137 feet (42 meters) and a top speed of Mach 1.2, the thing can carry 75,000 lbs of bombs (34 metric tons), including no less than 24 cruise missiles.
Despite not being “in the news” as often as other military aircraft, the B-1B has some 12,000 combat sorties to its name, as it performed bombing runs over Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and Iraq. It was also responsible for dropping 20 percent of the ordnance released over Yugoslavia in 1999, during Operation Allied Force, despite flying just 2 percent of all strike missions back then.
As said, the plane is scheduled to remain in service for at least two more decades, and that means it has to be kept up to date. Most recently, the Air Force is getting ready to test a new flight software for the plane.
One of the Lancers fitted with the software, deployed with the 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron, 53rd Wing out of Dyess Air Force Base (AFB) in Texas, is shown here as it’s moved through a hangar of the Edwards AFB in California. Captured by 1st Lt. Christine Saunders, the pic (click photo to enlarge) shows just how scary yet sleek and elegant the bomber is, even on the ground.