Manufactured by Rockwell, the B-1 Lancer bomber, affectionately known as the ‘Bone’ is a four engine supersonic aircraft with variable swept wings. The B-1 was originally thought to be a replacement for the B-52 Stratofortress. It entered service in 1986 as a nuclear bomber before being permanently converted for use only with conventional ordnance in the 90’s as a part of the START treaty with Russia.

Watch as a B-1 takes off in full afterburner at twilight

There have been 100 B-1B bombers built at an estimated cost of $280 million each. Rockwell sold their defense and aerospace business to Boeing 1996.


A B-1B Lancer takes off from Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, to conduct combat operations April 8, 2015. Al Udeid is a strategic coalition air base in Qatar that supports over 90 combat and support aircraft and houses more than 5,000 military personnel. Photo by Senior Airman James Richardson, US Air Force.

General characteristics

Crew: 4 (aircraft commander, copilot, offensive systems officer, and defensive systems officer)
Payload: 125,000 lb
Length: 146 ft
Extended: 137 ft
Swept: 79 ft
Height: 34 ft
Max. takeoff weight: 477,000 lb
Powerplant: 4 × General Electric F101-GE-102 augmented turbofans
Dry thrust: 17,390 lbf each
Thrust with afterburner: 30,780 lbf each


Maximum speed:
At altitude: Mach 1.25
At low level: Mach 0.92
Range: 5,100 nmi
Service ceiling: 60,000 ft

Featured image of US Air Force B-1B Lancer flying over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria against ISIL targets, Sept. 27, 2014. Photo by Senior Airman Matthew Bruch, US Air Force