Happy Sunday, FighterSweep Faithful! Today we celebrate one of our favorite aircraft of all time: the sleek, sexy, and supersonic Rockwell B-1B Lancer.

On this day in 1984 the B-1B, resurrected by President Ronald Reagan after the B-1A was canceled in 1977, took to the sky for the very first time. The swing-wing bomber was designed to operate at speeds and altitudes previously unheard of for strategic bombers, with unmatched payload capability. The Bone currently holds 50 (?!) records for speed, payload, time of climb, and distance traveled.

Recently, the B-1B fleet started receiving the Integrated Battle Station upgrade, a combination of three different programs that provides Fully Integrated Data Link, Vertical Situation Display upgrade, and Central Integrated System upgrade.

A Boeing B-1B Lancer takes off from Nellis Air Force Base during Green Flag-West in late 2014.
A Boeing B-1B Lancer takes off from Nellis Air Force Base during Green Flag-West in late 2014.

What does all of that mean? It means the old-school instrumentation is gone (mostly), replaced by a modern “glass cockpit” for both pilots and the two WSOs. Along with the new cockpit will come Sustainment Block 16A software, providing greatly improved sensory, navigation, and weapons capability, as well as a huge leap in situational awareness for the crew.

Also noteworthy is the recent divestiture of the entire B-1B Lancer fleet by Air Combat Command, with the aircraft now falling under the administrative and operational control of Air Force Global Strike Command. The move realigns all of the Air Force’s bombers under a one MAJCOM.

“This realignment places all three Air Force bombers under one command and brings the LRS-B program with it,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. “Consolidating all of our Air Force assets in this critical mission area under a single command will help provide a unified voice to maintain the high standards necessary in stewardship of our nation’s bomber forces.”

Bad…to the Bone!

(Featured Photo by Scott Wolff)