Aircraft Type: Rockwell International B-1A, S/N 76-174, “Lancer”
Mission: Swing Wing Strategic Bomber
Number built: Four B-1A models, 100 b-1B models
Powerplant: Four General Electric F101-GE-100 afterburning turbofans, 30,000 lbs. thrust each
Weight: Empty 190,000 lbs., Loaded 389,000 lbs., Maximum takeoff weight 477,000 lbs.
Dimensions: Wingspan 136’8″ swept fully forward-78’2″ fully swept, Length 150’2″, Height 33’7″
Performance: Maximum speed 1,390 MPH, Cruising speed 647 MPH, Service Ceiling 60,000 feet, Range 6,100 miles
Significance of Type
The B-1 is a “swing wing” strategic bomber of blended wing-body design intended for high speed, low altitude penetration missions. Compared to the B-52, the B-1 uses shorter runways, can carry twice the payload, and has a smaller radar profile.
The origin of the B-1 began as a USAF funded 1965 study to examine replacement of the ill-fated North American B-70 Valkyrie and relatively slow B-52. The first prototype rolled out of Palmdale, California on October 26, 1974 and made it’s first flight on December 23, 1974. The B-1 flight test program continued until June 30, 1977, when President Jimmy Carter halted the production of the B-1.
On October 2, 1981, President Ronald Reagan resurrected the B-1 program and approved the construction of 100 B-1s as part of his defense buildup initiative.
About our B-1A: This aircraft is the fourth and last B-1A model built. First flown in February 1979, the USAF primarily used it as the avionics test bed for the B-1B Program. Unlike the other B-1As which had crew escape modules, this aircraft has ejection seats (standard on the B-1B). This aircraft was delivered to the National Museum of United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio on December 16, 1986. It remained there for 17 years. It was disassembled and transported by truck and delivered to the Strategic Air & Space Museum on October 22, 2003.