YouTube – B-1 Bomber
US$ Cost (2016)
Flight Cost (2018)
US$95,000 per hour
4 x 30,780 lbs. ea.
145 ft. 11 in.
137 ft. 1 in.
79 ft. 1 in.
The B-1 Bomber, produced by Rockwell, had its inception when, in 1966, the U.S. Air Force proposed a replacement for its existing heavy bomber. The new bomber was to fly its missions at low levels and high speeds.
Construction of the first prototype aircraft designated the B-1A began in late 1972. It first took to the sky in December of 1974. Through the end of 1977, three prototypes had been built. They flew 118 total flights with a total of 646 hours. Although the project was officially canceled that year due to high costs, a fourth aircraft was built. Test flights continued until 1981.
The B-1 bomber project was reinstated by the Reagan administration in 1982. Revisions were made to the bomber, and an updated aircraft, designated the B-1B Lancer, first took to the sky in October of 1984. The aircraft was able to carry ordnance externally, had the latest avionics, stronger landing gear, and ejection seats instead of a crew escape pod. The first of the new aircraft was delivered to Dyess AFB, Texas, in June 1985 with deployment in the following year.
The B-1 bomber is capable of penetrating sophisticated enemy defenses throughout the world, providing rapid delivery of a variety of ordnance to potential adversaries with minimal notice.
In comparison to its predecessor, the B-1 bomber can use shorter runways, carries double the ordnance, has a smaller radar profile, and flies at lower altitudes. However it burns more fuel.
The B-1 bomber completed a round the world trip in a total of about 47 hours in 1993. In addition, it holds 43 world records for speed, payload, range, and time to climb.
Enhancements to the capabilities of the B-1 bomber were made through the Conventional Missions Upgrade Program. The results have been an increase in weapons deliver accuracy through the use of guided weapons. In addition, the defensive avionics of the aircraft are capable of countering enemy radar threats, including missile attacks from behind the aircraft. It defends the aircraft by applying countermeasures such as electronic jamming, dispensing chaff, or flares. It is anticipated that upgraded aircraft will remain deployed with the United States Air Force through the year 2025.
The radar and inertial navigation systems of the B-1 bomber enable world wide navigation, updated mission profiles and target coordinates while in flight. Precision bombing is capable without the need for ground based navigation aids.
During the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, B-1 bombers based in Guam flew a number of missions into the country, hitting bunkers, airfields, and Iraqi leadership. They flew at low altitudes over their targets while maintaining high speeds. After dropping their ordnance, the aircraft rendezvoused with air tankers for mid air refueling to enable them to return to base.
On April 7, 2003, following up on an intelligence source about a high level Iraqi leadership meeting, a B-1 bomber on route to another target was diverted to drop four precision guided 2,000 lb. munitions on a target in a suburb of Baghdad.
To perform the mission, the B-1 bomber crew had to plan attack and escape routes, assess enemy air defenses, maintain contact with airborne and ground controllers, select appropriate weapons, and dial in the target’s coordinates. To reduce civilian casualties, mission planners chose to use JDAM bombs. The bomb can penetrate hard targets and bury itself before exploding, minimizing fragmentation into surrounding locations.
We are told that the B-1 bomber aircraft’s global positioning system guided the JADAM bombs to within some 40 feet of the target for a successful targeting rate of 99 percent.
In March of 2012, nine B-1 bombers were deployed to Afghanistan. At least one of the aircraft was in the air at all times. In the six months that they were deployed, B-1 bombers flew two to three combat missions a day, accounting for about 9,500 airborne hours, and around 25 percent of all Afghanistan air combat missions.
Most recently, the B-1 bomber, operating from Qatar, has been used against ISIS over Syria.
A total of 100 B-1 bomber aircraft were produced, with the last delivered on May 2, 1988. To date, 65 are still flying. The others were put in storage as a cost savings measure. Rockwell was purchased by Boeing in 1996.
On June 8, 2018 it was announced that the entire U.S. Air Force fleet of B-1 bomber aircraft would be grounded due to: “an issue with ejection seat components”. The issue was discovered during the safety investigation process following an emergency landing of a B-1 bomber due to an engine flameout.
On June 19, 2018 the U.S.A.F. announced that its B-1 bomber grounding is over, but the ejection seat issue is still not resolved.
Nov. 5, 2019: The United States Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Ammunition Contracting Division awarded Pacific Scientific Energetic Materials Co. US$13,394,557 for sustainment of B-1 bomber aircraft. “This contract provides 48 shield mild detonating cord (SMDC) kits for B-1 bomber aircraft; with each kit contains 461 SMDC lines.” The contract expires on June 30, 2023.
RC B-1 Bomber
The RC B-1 bomber built by J. Morgan from the Horizon Hobbies Forum is built from foam. Power comes from two Mega 16/7/5 motors. The wingspan is 46 in. J. Morgan reports that it flies like a trainer at 70 MPH.
Jarro Hanneman of RCGroups scratch built a RC B-1 bomber. It has a wingspan of 53 in. with a length of 48 in. Power comes from two Hi Max motors driving 4.75 x 4.75 pusher props.
At RCGroups turbonut posted a video showing a RC B-1 bomber with a wingspan of 17 feet powered by Jetcat P-180 turbines. A picture from the video is right above.
Flexserve from RCGroups wrote to tell us that plans for his RC B-1 bomber made from Depron can be found at:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showpost.php?p=19557889&postcount=132. Thank you for sharing, Flexserve..
We haven’t seen any other RC B-1 bomber kits, plans, or ARF’s on the market to date. The bomber would appear to make a good flying airplane, especially with its wings extended. A slope soarer would make an interesting project. If you have built a RC B-1 bomber or know of one that should be on this page, please send us the details, so we can tell everyone about it.