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B-1B Lancer Is So Valuable It Has Its Own Security Detail While on Missions Overseas

When flying on combat missions in dangerous areas, bombers do have fighter jets tagging along to provide protection against enemy planes. But some assets are so valuable that they need to be guarded while on the ground as well, even while sitting on the tarmac of allied nations' bases.
Two soldiers guard a B-1B Lancer in Norway 12 photos
B-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
And in the inventory of the American Air Force (USAF), few assets are as valuable as the B-1B Lancer. The $200 million worth of combat hardware is so important, that it often travels with its own security detail, as seen in the image we have here, captured in March last year and released by the military branch as part of its Year in Photos release.

The plane was back then on an assignment to Europe, being deployed to Norway as part of the Bomber Task Force Europe mission. The snowy runway it’s seen residing on belongs to the Orland Air Force Station in the center of the country.

Very unlike the USAF, the pic does not center on the airplane per se, but on the people guarding it, in this case, two “defenders” deployed with the 7th Security Forces Squadron.

The unit is tasked with protecting “operational resources on the flightline and patrols the entire base in a law enforcement role.” It is based at Dyess Air Force base in Texas, but it travels where it’s needed. For the trip to Norway, eight 7th Security Forces Squadron soldiers were deployed with the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron.

As for the B-1B, we’re talking about one of the rarest planes currently in service, with 62 ever made, two of them for testing purposes. Having reached initial operating capability in 1986, it flew at first as a nuclear bomber, but its role started switching to conventional bomber in 1994, a status it attained in 2011 as part of the New START treaty.

The B-1 is a true legend of the sky, holding “50 world records for speed, payload, range, and time of climb in its class,” but also has quite the warrior pedigree, being deployed in combat missions against enemies in Iraq, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.

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

 
 
 
 
 

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