B-1B Lancer Bomber Looks Scary Lurking in a Dimly Lit Hangar at Edwards AFB

The Boeing (formerly Rockwell) B-1B Lancer is not one of those planes we get to see or hear something about on a daily basis. The supersonic heavy bomber is somewhat of a discreet presence for the general population but a frightening one for America’s enemies.
B-1B Lancer at Edwards Air Force Base 9 photos
Photo: USAF/1st Lt. Christine Saunders
B-1B LancerB-1B LancerB-1B LancerB-1B LancerB-1B LancerB-1B LancerB-1B LancerB-1B Lancer at Edwards Air Force Base
The Lancer, known as The Bone, has been serving the need of the U.S. Air Force (USAF) since 1985. If we are to trust the plans of the military, it will continue to do so well into the 2040s. Presently there are just a few over 100 of them in the skies of the world, but they seem to be enough to keep threats at bay.

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.
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Editor's note: Gallery shows various other B-1B 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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