The Boeing B-1 bomber aircraft has completed its 10,000th combat mission. The heavy bomber entered service with the US Air Force on June 29, 1985, and has been in nearly continuous combat for the past 10 years. The milestone mission took off from a base in Southwest Asia and was flown in support of operations over Afghanistan before returning to base.
“The B-1 brings tremendous flexibility to our nation’s defense,” said Lt Colonel Alejandro Gomez, mission team lead. “In any mission, the B-1 has the ability to loiter, dash, positively identify targets, show force, and strike targets precisely. Whatever our aircrews are asked to do, they can perform with this aircraft.
B-1 crews in Southwest Asia fly a variety of missions, including close air support for troops on the ground, giving them cover and alerting them to threats they cannot see. On-site maintainers keep the fleet ready to fly.
“10,000 conventional combat missions for a relatively small fleet of 66 B-1s is a major milestone and a testament to the men and women who built, sustain and modernise the fleet, including the US Air Force, Boeing and our subcontractors,” said Rick Greenwell, Boeing B-1 Program Director. “We continue to draw on expertise and experience from across Boeing to enhance our support of this amazing aircraft.”
Today’s B-1 can carry a mixed load of weapons in each of its three bays. Its long range allows it to base far from the conflict and loiter unrefuelled for long periods. Its swept wings allow it to fly fast, slow, low or high as the situation demands.