The Air Force’s record-breaking B-1 deployment

The Air Force’s record-breaking B-1 deployment

The next time somebody has an idea about cutting back on the Air Force’s fleet of B-1B Lancers, don’t be surprised if you hear about the 7th Bomb Wing’s recent deployment.

The airmen of the 7th kept a bomber in the air over Afghanistan every moment of their deployment, according to an Air Force announcement, in the largest B-1 overseas deployment in 10 years.

That translates to nine bombers, 400 airmen, and a whole litany of fun facts as broken out here by the Air Force:


The airmen of the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron and 9th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit provided more than 25 percent of the total fixed-wing close-air support coverage for coalition ground forces in Afghanistan every day by launching the most B-1 sorties executed on a single deployment in more than 10 years of sustained conflict.

Over the course of the six-plus month deployment, the squadron flew more than 770 combat sorties, encompassing over 9,500 hours, to provide 24 hours of coverage every day.

They also responded to more than 500 troops-in-contact situations, with the enemy as close as 300 meters from friendly forces, and another 700 priority air requests, delivering more than 400 weapons on target.

“We were able to achieve these great stats through pure hard work,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Brooks, 9th Bomb Squadron commander. “Our squadron flew 130 more sorties than any B-1 squadron had flown in any other six month deployment. You don’t accomplish this by luck. It’s pure hard work and dedication from the aircraft maintainers, weapon builders and load crews, B-1 aviators, and the rest of the 7th Bomb Wing who deployed with us.”

The 9th EBS and 9th EAMU completed a complex B-1 sustainment block upgrade in the midst of combat operations, while avoiding any degradation in support to ongoing missions. The upgrade, completed to all nine aircraft in only six days, fulfilled an Air Forces Central Urgent Operational Needs request to fully integrate the sniper targeting pod onto the B-1, thereby providing machine-to-machine interface between the targeting pod and weapons, and reducing the targeting timeline by 33 percent.

The modification also ensured full operational capability for the B-1 to employ the GBU-54 Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition, providing Combined Forces Air Component Commander with the first-ever B-1 capability to engage and destroy moving targets.

Not bad — this is exactly the kind of sales pitch that B-1 advocates have been making all along. So far it has worked; we saw where the Air Force seemed to quietly withdraw its plans to cull the Bones, at least in the near term. The challenge for B-1 fans, however, will be making the case to keep the current force when it no longer has to stay overhead in Afghanistan at all times.

H/T: Daily Report

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It absolutely amazes me that a high-altitude bomber can provide CAS within 300 meters of friendly troops. Absolutely astounding. I wonder if most of those missions were in support of SOF guys, or if we’ve reached the point that a regular old FO ANGLICO can call in bomber support? In my day (mid-90’s), that would’ve been a REAL stretch…

I’ve never understood the USAF’s bias against the B-1B. I’m glad they are starting to ease off.

Good question. ROI in these times? Posturing for budget perhaps? Nah, that wouldn’t happen. No doubt some ‘goodness’ was delivered nonetheless.

The question is why the B-1 was used at a cost of over $35,000 per flying hour when the Air Force has assets that fly CAS at under $10,000 per hour?

Because of precision munitions you can take any platform and provide CAS in a permissive environment.

Costs far more than $35K an hour.

A better metric would be cost per weapon delivered. The Bone can carry a ridiculous number of bombs and loiter for many hours, so it may actually be cheaper overall (just speculating).

>“We were able to achieve these great stats through pure hard work,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Brooks, 9th Bomb Squadron commander.

Once again proving that the USAF dosent even know where to start to win a war

wait..what?

awesome record and a great story for the USAF here. The B-1 is for real. highly relevant across the spectrum of warfare, including strategic deterrence. Bravo, B-1 community.

BajaWarrior is correct. For FY12, the per hour cost for a B-1B is $48,241 per the AF Cost Analysis Agency, Table A15-1, Aircraft Reimbursable Rate, FY12.

So the USAF tried tooth and nail to cut B1s. They dragged kicking and screaming like a 4 year old having a tantrum in the grocery store when it came to UAVs, and then want to tout successes with the B1? Pretty much all this article says about the senior USAF leadership is, we don’t know what to cut or what we should be buying as opposed to what we shouldn’t.

The article is coming out of the folks actually operating the B-1B as opposed to the folks at the Pentagon. That would partially explain the “bi-polar” nature of the messages being sent out.

But we still need the A-10 because um something um it has a gun that’s AS BIG AS A CAR and something else!

According to the article, they delivered 400 weapons in over 770 sorties. That is 0.52 weapons per sortie. All CAS platforms are capable of carrying more than 0.52 weapons. Of course this is a flippant answer, but it is unlikely that any sortie required the full capacity of the B-1. And, it makes no sense for the Air Force to fly ridiculously expensive planes full of excess bombs because a target may present itself.

The reason is not just bombload. It’s also loiter time and response time. In order to cover a large area, you either need a few bombers, or a lot of fighters. For slower aircraft like an A-10, the response time for TICs goes way down if they’re not in the immediate vicinity. It might not be the most economical platform solely based on weapons per sortie, but when you factor in the cost of having the same 24/7 coverage with fighters over the same geographical space, then it becomes to look like a bargain.

So, in one hour of flight time, a B-1B consumes roughly the equivalent of the median US household income. Of course, the cost table assumes a price of $3.98 for aviation fuel. We know that in combat, fuel prices can be 100 times this amount! But, let’s just take the numbers from A15-1 and compare the B-1B and the A-10. For the 9,500 hour flown, the B-1B cost $458,289,500. The A-10 ($11,437/hr) would have cost $108,651,500. A potential savings of almost $350,000,000. Hmm… didn’t Sec Panetta say that our deficit is a national security concern?

Of course, the Air Force wants to cut A-10s and justify B-1s. Plus, the B-1 guys haven’t had a chance to “get in the fight” lately.

Perhaps. I’d like to see the actual analysis that compares response times.

That big ass gun is still nice to have. Sometimes you just have to strafe something.

“Of course, the Air Force wants to cut A-10s and justify B-1s. Plus, the B-1 guys haven’t had a chance to “get in the fight” lately.”

You do of course realize the B-1s have been deployed pretty much continuously since 2001, right?

Also…don’t forget that fighters fly at a minimum as a 2 ship, so double your costs right off the top. Then, as I pointed out before, a single bomber can cover more area and time than a fighter 2 ship. You could continuously refuel a fighter, but more fighters requires more tankers, so don’t forget to add in the cost of the additional tankers. Also, since ramp space is limited in most AOR airfields, to achieve the geographic coverage with more fighters, don’t forget to add the cost of the extra basing, and the infrastructure needed to keep those bases defended and fed. Simple cost per flying hour comparisons are the proverbial apples to oranges comparison. There’s no denying that its an expensive business, but it’s not as simple as doing a 1:1 cost comparison.

besides the response times, there are the ISR as well as ‘show of force’ benefits to consider. all this from a platform that was originally intended with a specific mission of penetrating the Soviet Union. it did a great job of that too, giving the US greater leverage in strategic arms treaties, and ergo, winning the Col War. the flexibility & contributions to our national security the b-1 gives us are the result of the blood, sweat, and tears of many airmen over the past 30 years. the us army gives the b-1 high marks, too. so give it credit for enhancing joint warfighting and overall enhancement of the air force’s prestige, something the usaf is desperately in need of. http://​defensetech​.org/​2​0​1​0​/​0​6​/​3​0​/​p​e​t​r​a​e​u​s​-​g​i​ves–

Not so fast. The same money could have kept about 25 armed turboprop trainers in the air over many parts of Afghanistan

USAF wanted to cut SIX B1s, which makes sense, given the fleet age. The ones to be retired would be the oldest hangar queens, which would be stripped and parts used to sustain the rest of the fleet. i don’t agree with eliminating the fleet without a replacement, but gracefully retiring the fleet, freeing up funds for many other vital requirements & opportunties, makes sense.

i agree that there is a valid need for a light attack aircraft (atleast as a pilot program), but the failure of DoD/USAF/fed govt (did Congress help screw it up?) to properly execute that acquisition should not take any luster off the b-1’s accomplishments. reprogramming a fraction of the f-35’s development funds could fund a light attack aircraft capability as well.

25 armed turboprop trainers wouldn’t have delivered a successful Desert Fox result in 98, a majority of the bombs dropped in Allied Force in 99 and OEF, survival against 20 SAMs (http://​en​.wikipedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​O​p​e​r​a​t​i​o​n​_​A​l​l​i​e​d​_​F​o​rce), or the Shock and Awe of OIF.

I see the data every day, the assessment types have got this nailed, B-1 provides a unique capabilities package that you can only get with a significantly greater number of fighters, tankers, bases, etc. as mentioned. See comments by Edh. Bottom line is that it is a mix of capabilities which provides the eyes, ears and firepower our boys on the ground count on to get them out of trouble. Perhaps when the data gets declassified we’ll have a nice chat about it. Oh yeah, bombs dropped is not very useful, when the Bone is scarring the bad guys, who decide to stay home instead of fight, that is a win for our Army/coalition/Afghan bubba’s.

So your line of thinking is that the American taxpayer received the best value CAS possible by spending $458,289,500 on flying the B-1? Good grief.

True — but none of those were CAS missions. All strategic & operational level strike.

If I may assume, I think STemplar was referring to the USAF’s stance on the B-1 *overall.* The AF brass has had an axe to the B-1’s throat since the late 80s, and most of the problems the plane suffered from could have been solved with proper training and the right spare parts, neither of which the AF brass ever wanted to buy.

I think the best value for the American taxpayer would be to leave Afghanistan altogether, considering that bin Laden is dead (one of the reasons we went there!) and Karzai’s government is trying to hold us up for money.

Flying B-1Bs, B-52s, A-10s, or heck F-22s and F-35s isn’t the problem. The problem is we’re fighting a war with no apparent strategy other than “kill some terrorists and hope the locals appreciate it.” Since they don’t appreciate it and we managed to kill the No. 1 terrorist and a lot of his cronies over the last ten years, maybe we should pack up and come home. ;)

just need a bomb that stafes.….

I was on the B-1B Flight Test Team at Edwards AFB for 7 years as a Systems Tech Rep. These planes are a maintenance technicians dream!!!

I find it interesting that the USAF seems to hate many of the aircraft that actually work and yet loves the ones that don’t. The B-1B, A-10, C-27J, are all amazing, effective machines that the USAF has tried to get rid of at one point or anther, yet the F-35 and F-22 are riddled with problems and the USAF goes nuts over supporting them.

Flight costs are a good metric unless B1s don’t have the same additional costs that fighters do.

BTW, A10s have also been continuously deployed.

Not taking away from the B1 contribution, just making it clear they have costs also.

Did you miss the part about keeping Afghanistan from becoming another terrorist haven to launch 911’s?

ECTP — You really think Airplanes flying keep the enemy home? Who would have thought? Bring the Army and Marines home. The Air Force will keep the bad guys home by just flying past them!

No doubt A/C have an impact on units in contact but even then the enemy often doesn’t just break contact. I’m just showing how absurd “scareing” the enemy with flybys really keeps the enemy home. .

The thing is a fighter two ship can service two separate TICs simultaneously, whereas one B-1B can only be one place at a time. Also, fighters have a much shorter attack re-attack times compared to the larger bomber. However, a B-1B can generally carry much more munitions and have more loiter time.

If you are talking about fuel, you need to factor in how much fuel is actually pushed across the boom per flight/bomber. Fighters: 10s of thousands of pounds per jet. Bomber: 100s of thousands of pounds. 4 big engines equals thirsty beast.

Uh, you are kidding, right?

Let’s get something straight here. It’s Congress that wants or don’t want these aircraft. The AF will say they don’t want nor need something, but the politicians say differently. These politicians have constituants in their district they need to make happy. They won’t be happy if a weapons system program negatively effects their local business populas.

True, but wouldn’t a drone strategy work in Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided the technical hurdle of a drone launch site is met, perhaps by navy aviation or an agreement with neighboring ‘stans?

Heck, we could negotiate with people in the Panjshir and hide out there-but I don’t think building out new airports is in the books anytime soon. And the Panjshir is even closer to the ‘stans (and Russian/Chinese supply routes) and even less supplyable via Pakistan.

I saw two B1’s do a flyby over Arlington National Cemetery and then hit afterburners and climb out over western Arlington, twice a few years ago, and it was incredible. The feeling of the thing going over you was palpable, it was like standing in front of the tower of power! People were running out of their suburban houses and looking up at them with stupid grins on their faces. Just an impressive jet. It is really great to hear about this new sniper pod and how the 7th has leveraged that capability and the B1’s ability to loiter into a really crucial role in Afghanistan.

Does that include the cost to improve all of those bases in Afghanistan, fly in fuel at $400 a gallon, and tie up infantry companies at each base to provide perimeter security and sanitize the takeoff and landing zones?

Eisenhower warned about the MIC — and your point is taken. However, the fighter mafia and their latest plan for force restructuring makes it obvious where their hearts are. When it comes to transport or ground support missions — it is clear the fighter mafia simply isn’t interested. IMO — these are two critical missions that should be returned to the army.

the first time i saw a b-1 go vertical was at a usafa football game. i fell in love at first sight.

The constant deployment of the B-1 bomber tells me that the US Air Force next heavy bomber should be more B-1 than B-2 as well as needing to build a fleet that is larger than the 21 B-2 built.

More or less, it is just the lack of vision. They either don’t want, or try to get rid of things that seem to have the most use.

??? Some intellectual basis for your assessment, or striving for any stone to grind your ax?

Yes, Shows of Presence/Shows of Force, according to data sets, do appear to work as a tactic. Be careful not to correlate that to a strategy and you must consider the nature of the enemy: his habits, motivations, pattern of life if you will. After 10 years of war, enemy has figured out that if an airplane is overhead when he engages ground forces he tends to ‘get dead’. I won’t argue the perception, nor will I argue that if all we did was fly when everyone goes home that we could win the war. As for value, I would defer to the comments by Edh, would it be cheaper to build a new airfield (base support services, security, logistics, etc) or fly the Bone, that I do not know.

That number ($48,241 per hour) can quickly add up. Unfortunately, the air force never cared about moderninzing the B-1B to make it more cost effiecient. The F-16’s carry improved versions of that engine, I don’t see any reason they could not put those improvements on the B-1B’s engine to save money.

This is another of the aircraft that had too many opponents who spent too much time and money trying to kill it. Some said it wasn’t needed, some said it couldn’t be successful because it was too complex and some said it cost too much. —

Mostly, the objections came from the left who were trying to kill everything President Reagan was doing to rebuild our military and nuclear/conventional deterrent and bring down the Soviet Union. —

Mostly it was Democrats who always object to defense spending as they see it as stealing their social justice money for dependence on government programs. —

Today, what can be said about the B-1 is that it has been successful, has been underutilized until the Afghanistan War and was a prudent investment by a real leader with vision and foresight. —

If only Reagan had been allowed to build Star Wars, we would be in a much better position today regarding North Korea, China, Russia, Iran and the Middle East. Sometimes vision, real leadership and an honest man is worth more than all the phony partisan politicians in the world.

ECTP — “when the Bone is scarring the bad guys, who decide to STAY HOME instead of fight, that is a win for our Army/coalition/Afghan bubba’s”, your words, (I emphasized stay home). You’re correlating it to a strategy and made at best an unsupportable statement (how do you know? polling the Taliban?). No doubt aircraft when units are in contact do have an impact though even then the enemy doesn’t just always run.

Not wanting to argue it is a good decision. There’s no way you know the Taliban stay home because planes fly. Considering all categories of attacks in Afghanistan since ’08 even with increasing numbers of aircraft the evidence says different. (http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/programs/foreign%20policy/afghanistan%20index/index20120516 p10)

No, drones don’t operate in a vacum. There has to be an intel piece and drones do just so much.

Consider if they were the answer, we wouldn’t have a problem with the Taliban conducting conventional attacks coming out of Pakistan which are much more visible than terrorist networks planning/training attacks against the US (which have continued out of Pakistan and Yemen despite drones).

Note: there have not been any attacks against the US coming out of Afghanistan since we toppled the Taliban and in effect occupied the nation.

Puts a whole different spin on “planned obsolescence” when it comes to BIG tactical air support missions.
Like the A-10, the brass hats always want the latest fighter jockey toys at the expense of our Army & Marine ground troops risking their lives every day up close and personal.

I was an avionics tech on them for 4,5 years at Ellsworth. You must’ve occupied an ejection seat because this swing-wing terror was a maintenance tech’s worst nightmare! I still love her though. Has to be love considering all the blood, sweat, & busted knuckles I shared with her.

Fuel doesn’t cost $400/gal in Afghanistan.

The specific scenario where the burdened cost of fuel was a SOF raid where helos established a forward refueling base, then another forward refueling base from the first one, and then the two fuel points supported a SOF raid. The burdened cost of fuel for the SOF helos was calculated at $400/gal because you add all the cost associated with the supporting helos to the cost of the fuel..

Curt, that figure is pretty close to what diesel fuel costs in country. After it is shipped to the region, put on a truck, travels 1600 miles from Karachi to a major base in Afghanistan (and pays a few bribes along the way), repackaged for military use, and parachuted out of a C-130 for use on a remote base the price of that fuel is almost $400/gal when you factor in how much money was spent moving it along the supply chain I just described. Even if it’s not para-dropped and just trucked to its final destination, the price is still huge.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503543_162-57337390–5

Yep, this has a lot to do with deploying B-1Bs to Afghanistan. The truth is that the AF never finishes their planes until 25 years after they’re built, and in the meantime relies on the hanger queen supply system instead of actually maintaining a real supply system with actual supplies in it. There’s nothing wrong with our military that a few trillion won’t fix, from rifles that have jammed for 45 years, “armored vehicles” that get creamed by IEDs because the primary armor was canvas, a distressing desire to create new problems on sort-of new weapons instead of fixing the old weapons. A stealth fighter that can’t be used, a stealth fighter-bomber that cost too much to be deployed, a 40-year-old bomber finally coming into its own… Wow, I’m impressed. The only thing outstanding about today’s Air Force is that fact that the guys who actually do the work to keep it going stay as long as they do, especially when they’re breaking their backs to give Generals column-inches.

I can NOT understand why the Air Force utilized the MOST expensive weapons system to deliver minimal munitions on marginal targets??? Have we completely given up on close air support by the Air Force today?
I understand the terrain has played a key role in limitations for close air support, by fighter bomber aircraft,. so that leaves much to explain as far as this guy is concerned. Oh don’t get me wrong “interdiction” bombing has come a LONG way from it conception… I just think a B1 Bomber is a pretty damned expansive way to drip a bomb as air-ground support????

Secretary Panetta flies home each weekend on a government plane to be with his wife (because she likes her home in California and doesn’t want to move like other military families have to). So he couldn’t care less about what it costs for fuel.

The concept of keeping a bomber (just one) over an entire country in support of thousands of troops at an outrageous cost says a lot about Air Force generals. Air power didn’t win in Vietnam. No matter how good our military people are, this is not the way you win a war! That’s right. This is just an insurgency. In a real war, the B-1’s would have been wiped out by now because the other guys would have taken them out early.

Philip Ewing’s article says a lot about perspective, though. The Air Force bragging about the “successful” deployment of a single weapon, while we are “losing” Afghanistan to a bunch of illiterate rifle-equipped militiamen. This is just Vietnam all over again, but this time without the jungle. We are deluding ourselves. In full denial. Bin Laden’s dead. Time to come home. All the rest is just BS.

Pretty hard to fight a war when the major concern is always the cost of this, or the cost of that. When did you ever read this same Sh$$ during WW2, or even the Korean War? Why now,? Too many journalists too much time on hand, nothing to report that would HELP the war effort.…Ah Ha! that’s it nothing to report that could/would HELP the war effort. We sure have had our heads stuffed full of that, haven’t we?????

It’s called a cluster bomb.

>Implying dodbuzz​.com has greentext.
>Implying that “winning duh warz” is relevant in modern day warfare.
>Implying that calling the AF isn’t the answer to 80% of firefights since 2001.
>Implying that these stats and this article on the Bone isn’t impressive.

Go back to 4chin.

It’s not BS. It’s valuable training and R&D. Lessons learned were valuable, too. I can’t think of a fight the US wouldn’t be good in now whereas, before the wars, I would have laughed at someone if they said America could handle asymmetric warfare.

We’ll learn and adapt to the next war, too, just as we always have.

understood. reread my first comment “relevant across the spectrum of warfare”. ghost: “not so fast, same money could have kept 25 armed turboprops” in the air over many part of Afghanistan. my response was to show the turboprops are not as relevant “across the spectrum of warfare” that the B-1 is.

Gotcha. In context, understood.

Nicely said, Chaos. Also, there’s something to be said for the ability to carry a big payload and get anywhere in a hurry–in both permissive and non-permissive environments.

Gotta think the Bones are a key element in AirSea Battle, at least until USAF can field a follow-on LRS platform.

Besides its other, more exquisite capabilities, it carries a very large payload and transits to targets very fast. In a permissive air threat environment, where attrition risks are low, I imagine it brings a significant economy of scale.

When F-22 and F-35 have as many flight hours as B-1B, the USAF/USN/USMC zoomies will make them every bit as amazing and effective. Wasn’t all that long ago that the B-1B was riddled with problems and the USAF went nuts over supporting it.

be careful of who you call “Air Force”. this bragging comes from the B-1 operational community. it is well deserved and necessary. if they don’t stick up for themselves, no one else will. think of DoD and the USAF as a tank of sharks. the bigger & meaner you are, the less likely you are to be eaten. the B-1 community have done their job, despite the adversity they have faced. they have every right to be proud of their accomplishments.

The skimpy size of the B2 buy had nothing to do with the aircraft configuration or design specs, and everything to do with politics, the 1990’s “Peace Dividend,” and the economics of the acquisition death spiral. The Clinton Administration and pacifist Democrats in Congress were joined by Budget Hawk Republicans in their successful effort to hamstring the B-2.

Get over it, steve. Economics has always been important in war–even in WW2. The Allies won the Battle of the Atlantic by imposing higher costs for U-Boats to attack Allied shipping. Setting aside Kennedy-esque rhetoric that the US will “bear any burden, pay any cost,” it is always sound strategy to adopt cheap countermeasures against expensive weapons (and vice-versa). Remember, amateurs talk tactics while professionals talk logistics (i.e., resources).

Use to love to see those Ellsworth birds do night time touch n go’s at Minot in the winter working on B-52’s, back in the 80’s. Those Burners use to crack like thunder in that cold air. Four blue cones out the back…yeah man!

B-1

Not so on trying to cut B1s.… It’s under pressure from congressional analysts who see it as a Cold War tool that’s outlived its usefulness.

The A-10 & AC-130 are all we need these days for ground action.

The USAF has accounted for the majority of enemy causalities ever since the Korean War and continues to do so. To belittle that fact is to ignore the saving of our troops lives by eliminating the combatants BEFORE they can begin to conduct operations against our troops.

The AF has “hated” the B-1 for several reasons. First, it was riddled with problems for years — no denying that. These have been worked out but it has affected many opinions. Second, it is very expensive to operate. This is irrelevant from a combat standpoint because the B-1 has superior range, payload, loiter and is an extremely effective CAS platform. But, money still matters, day to day, when budget numbers are crunched, so other aircraft seem more cost effective when everyone is in garrison. Third, AF programs with large Guard and Reserve involvement get a lot of political support. It also only directly benefits two states and Congressional districts. In the political world where decision are made, this type of support matters. Fourth, the B-1 has always been the red-headed step-child in its MAJCOM. In its early days, it was in SAC, but the B-2 was already in development, so it wasn’t favored. Now it is in ACC, competing for support with fighters. Finally, the B-1 doesn’t carry the water for the two central AF missions: Strategic Attack and Counterair. Of course, the Bone contributes directly to both of these missions, but this is not the perception.

Well put!!

“They also responded to more than 500 troops-in-contact situations, with the enemy as close as 300 meters from friendly forces, and another 700 priority air requests, delivering more than 400 weapons on target.”

Sounds like the AF powers that be could not provide the proper support at the right place and time, resulting in a “strategic bomber” having to do a close air support . That aside, the fighter jocks rule.

One of the reasons (possibly) for the low number of munitions expended, is that sometimes the Taliban is too close to the “friendlies” to take a chance using bombs. At those times, the B-1 crew would often just do a High Speed/ Low Level pass over the Taliban positions, and it was enough to convince them to disengage and hightail it out of there.

Early on in Afghanistan, before the B-1 was deployed, the venerable B-52 was doing the CAS job. Would anybody like to do the math to figure out which one was cheaper to operate? Hmmm…?

AWESOME!!!! Kudos to the maintainers. especially ont the 462“s Go Weapons!

You can send up 1 B1 that has a very long loiter factor, unmatched/sustained speed, carry several differant types of bombs in each sortie, and defend itself with jamming/chaff flares/decoys all in 1 pkg. If you used a fighter it would require refueling every hour and only be able to use a couple of small bombs.

Being an OLD ” B B” Stacker/Loader on the B-52 e&f models, and then F-4gs and then the FB-111s and then the F-15 c&d models and then the F-16 c&d models. What I am saying is that all these aircraft have one common thing, The Maintenance workers on the ground that keep them FLYING!!!! All the planes in the world and any model won’t FLY nor deliver Munitions if not for the young Airmen and NCO’s that keep the Whole Air Force going!!!! Could it be that if one looks deeper that one might find that the Airmen of the 60’s/70’s/ 80’s had different values and work habits then those who followed??? Years ago who can remember ever hearing ” WHY” when told to do something? The disapline and respect has change along with standards and rules and regulations. Don’t get me wrong I know and support change but I feel the Military has kind gone the way of the American families and our Schools!!!!!! I gave my country many years of service and much of my health, wonder if it was ever needed how many young men & women would put down their cell phones and Play Station controllers and sign up to protect the Country they take for granted????

What you all don’t realize, as someone who dealt with them for four years and only recently got out of that terrible situation, is that when they say “the B-1 costs a lot of money to keep it in the air”, the mean they spend a whole lot just replacing parts on it. “maintenance technicians dream”? You’re out of your mind. They barely keep those things flying. Broken pieces of cold-war junk!

B-1s haven’t taken a day off. When other assets have their “down days,” it’s the B-1 that often picks up the slack.

I’m pretty sure a B-52 show of force doesn’t quite have the impact of a B-1. So, when there is a TIC on the opposite end of the country and our guys are getting shot up…how long would it take a B-52 vs. a B-1? How about an A-10 or any other platform? A typical fighter would run out of gas or need to hit the tanker, especially if they went sustained supersonic, like the B-1.

I know the troops on the ground appreciate the B-1. You have no idea the countless lives the B-1 has saved, but feel free to put a price on someone’s life. Maybe you could lobby your congressmen to push for more efficient engines on the B-1 to make it less of a gas hog and more of a sustainable platform.

It is not stealthy, supersonic or a fighter.

it is supersonic, but the huge reason the air force is so hard on it is the extreme amount of hours and money it takes to keep them flying

So which is it guys: maintenance nightmare or a dream to take care of?

great question. answer is both! it’s like the Millenium Falcon.

And when the last B-1 goes to the boneyard, it will be the MIGHTY B-52 to do the flyby salute.…

How much did that cost and what did we get out of it…smh

Because the total cost for F-15E is greater once you add in all the support, to include only 4 guys in a Bone and once you add up all the F15E sorties needed to carry 24 2000 lbs over a 24 period you pretty much take a quarter of a wing. Come on man. Break out that pencil again and add everything up!

I saw a B-1 cross US 6 right in front of me at what looked like tree-top height and flat out speed out in in western Nebraska a lot of years ago. Awesome! I almost ran off the road… Great plane…

“this is exactly the kind of sales pitch that B-1 advocates have been making all along. So far it has worked; we saw where the Air Force seemed to quietly withdraw its plans to cull the Bones, at least in the near term.“_______________________________________________________I should have known that politics had something to do with it.

This post shows how ignorant you are…B-1s would have been wiped out by now?! Seriously?

Second off, AF Generals are meeting the request of Army Generals and CF Generals who are REQUESTING air power overhead, the AF meets that through a variety of methods which all have their role (A-10s, 16s, 15s, Navy 18s and more).

If you want to cut costs, bring the troops home so they don’t need to be there being shot at and needing air assets overhead, or volunteer yourself and solve the war some other way; but until you are the one being shot at no one wants to hear about your cost cutting ideas and other pontifications that don’t make any sense.

Hope you never need long-range air support in a hurry!

It has been in service now for over 20 years, and has yet to see combat!

I have personally serviced more then one kinetic TIC simultaneously in the B-1

It is so easy to criticize the USAF for short sightedness but the truth is we live in an ever changing world with shrinking budgets and ever changing conflicts. It is very difficult to guess what logistics that will be required in future conflicts.

Is that even relevant? The Bones operating over Afghanistan are flying in from elsewhere in the Gulf.

My comment was to point out some problems with the idea of using many small turboprop trainers to replace the Bones for CAS.

Duly noted. I regret my misunderstanding.

A-10s are essentially day VFR only, have far less loiter time, so number of A-10s to equal a B-1 (whether payload, area covered, time available) will always exceed number of B-1s, sniper-pod gives positive ID of targets as well as non-traditional ISR, etc., etc.… So: Making these apples to smart watermelons dollar arguments completely ridiculous. Anyone savvy in the total logistical cost per “effects based opertations” (call it bombs on target, pull CAS, etc.) knows the true value of each weapon system in a set of combat circumstances. Doctrine has never defined a particular aircraft as a “CAS” aircraft… only that effects are “in close proximity to own troops.”

i wish i could like this all day long been on them for just two years working hydraulics .

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