B-1B Lancer Spreads Its Wing Over the Pacific, Can You Spot the Second One?

Together with the B-2 Spirit and B-52 Stratofortress, the B-1B Lancer is part of America’s Bomber Trifecta. It pretty much means that, even if other planes are perfectly capable of dropping bombs from the sky, these three are the only ones in America’s arsenal specifically built for the task.
B-1B Lancers over the Pacific 15 photos
Photo: USAF/Master Sgt. Nicholas Priest
B-1B Lancers over the PacificB-1B Lancer being parked in GuamB-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
Of them all, my personal favorite is the Lancer. Initially meant to replace the Stratofortress (which, in the meantime, got its service extended to such a degree it will become the first military plane ever to turn 100 years old while in service), the bird had a troubled birth, with the first production version flying in 1984, about 14 years since the first prototype was made.

Now, it’s the plane with the largest conventional payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the U.S. Air Force (USAF) arsenal. It can carry 75,000 pounds (34,019 kg) of the stuff, to altitudes that can reach 30,000 feet (9,144 meters) and across continents.

In its first years, the Lancer was also nuclear-weapons capable, but its nuclear mission ended in 1994, and its conversion to conventional bomber started as per the START treaty back in 2007.

Presently, the Lancer has 50 world records for speed, payload, range, and time of climb in its class to its name. All these impressive capabilities and achievements are enhanced in these eyes by the fact the Lancer is the best looking of the entire Trifecta.

Sadly, with just 62 of them in active inventory, we don’t get to see Lancers all that often, so when one makes an appearance, we feel obligated to make that appearance public.

When two of them come out to play, like in the main photo of this piece, there’s even more reason to do so. Yes, look closely and you’ll see there are two Lancers in this pic, snapped by a master sergeant back in June and recently made public by the USAF.

The planes, assigned to the 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, were conducting a Bomber Task Force mission over the Pacific when they were caught on film.
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Editor's note: Gallery also shows various 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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