Its designation is the B-1 Lancer. By combining the B and the one(1) it is often referred to by those who fly it as “Bone.” A supersonic heavy bomber, the B-1 Lancer was introduced into service in 1986, but its first flight was in 1974. Why so long from first flight to introduction?
Cancellation and Restart
The first B-1, the B-1A, could reach speeds of Mach 2.2. It was designed to have the range of the B-52, as well as comparable payload. With the first cruise missiles like the AGM-86 being developed in the late 1970s, the cost to build the heavy B-1 bomber, and with another stealth bomber in the works, the B-1 program was cancelled in 1977. There were four B-1As produced before the plug was pulled on continued manufacturing.
The B-1 program was restarted in 1981 to provide additional strategic bombers while a new stealth bomber was being developed. One hundred B-1 aircraft were delivered between 1986 and 1988. This variable swept wing weapons platform has four turbofan afterburning engines and can deliver precision guided and non-precision guided weapons against any adversary, anywhere in the world, at any time. Though it is the backbone of the United States strategic bombers, the B-1 quickly became a highly versatile multi-mission weapon system.
B-1 and the B-52
The B-1 was originally designed to replace the B-52. It’s speed and maneuverability along with the ability to operate at very low altitudes were part its core strengths. This nimble strategic bomber was able to carry nuclear arms until 2007 when modifications were made to eliminate the nuclear capability in accordance with the START Treaty.
With the project’s restart in 1981, the B-1A underwent design changes to improve its weapons capacity. This led to the B-1B, which had a payload increased of 74,000 lbs and reduced its radar cross section. The modifications changed the top speed from Mach 2.2 down to Mach 1.2.
Today it is considered a long-range, multi-role, heavy bomber. It is powered by four General Electric F101-GE-102 turbofan engines with afterburner. With 30,000+ lbs of thrust per engine while using the afterburner and a loaded weight of 326,000 lbs, this heavy bomber can reach a maximum speed of 830 mph at 50,000 feet and 700 mph at approximately 200-500 feet.
During takeoff, landings, and air refueling, the B-1’s wings are set to the forward position for flight stability. When in combat configuration at subsonic and supersonic flight, the wings are swept for maximum maneuverability and speed.
The sleek, dart-like aircraft has six external hardpoints for 50,000 lbs of ordnance. It also has three internal bomb bays capable of delivering another 75,000 lbs. of guided and unguided bombs.
B-1B Lancer’s APQ-164 Radar
The B-1B Lancer utilizes the APQ-164 passive electronically scanned array. This is a variant of the APG-66 pulse doppler radar found in the F-16 Fighting Falcon. The Lancer also uses the ALQ-161 radar warning receiver and the ASQ-184 defensive management system.
With many of the avionics and radar systems of the B-1 originating in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the electronics and electromechanical systems can be over three decades old. Like many of the aircraft that originated during the 60’s, 70, and 80’s that are still flying today, the B-1B can face maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) dilemmas all over the aircraft. These MRO problems often involve obsolescence issues where documentation is missing or defective parts cannot be replaced due to OEMs no longer supporting that system, or the OEM may no longer exist.
To keep the Bone flying, these systems must still be maintained even when facing obsolescence issues. Avoiding scrapping repairable parts requires a depot to develop the missing technical data or reverse engineer broken or missing parts. This is especially important when aging platforms like the B-1B Lancer are proposed to fly into the 2030s.
Repairing Obsolete Equipment
The low voltage power supply, a component of the B-1B Lancer’s APQ-164 radar, is shown here under repair by Duotech Services technicians. Duotech specializes in repairing obsolete equipment that the OEMs no longer support, or if they do, the repair comes at a cost well over repair percentage guidelines.
PN: 152C071H02, 152C071H01, 152C071H03
For companies who only need one or a few items repaired, we are responsive to their small quantity repair requirements. For equipment that does not have documentation or has unavailable parts, Duotech is able to reverse engineer and develop technical data.
Instead of scrapping repairable equipment, we offer solutions to keep your legacy aircraft in the air and your obsolete mission critical equipment functioning.
Duotech maintains an AS9100C registration and is a qualified repair station for hundreds of items. Learn more below about Duotech’s long term sustainment capabilities for your C-130 Hercules.