Rockwell B-1 Lancer Bomber Aircraft
The Rockwell B-1 Lancer is a four-engine variable-sweep wing strategic bomber used by the United States Air Force (USAF). First envisioned in the 1960s as a supersonic bomber with sufficient range and payload to replace the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, it developed primarily into a low-level penetrator with long range and supersonic speed capability at high altitude.
The B-1 has a blended wing body configuration, with variable-sweep wing, four turbofan engines, and triangular fin control surfaces. The wings can sweep from 15 degrees to 67.5 degrees (full forward to full sweep). Forward-swept wing settings are used for takeoff, landings and high-altitude maximum cruise. Aft-swept wing settings are used in high subsonic and supersonic flight. The wings of the B-1B originally were cleared for use at settings of 15, 25, 55 and 67.5 degrees. The 45-degree setting was later cleared in 1998–99 timeframe. The B-1's variable-sweep wings and thrust-to-weight ratio provide it with better takeoff performance, allowing it to use more runways than previous bombers.The length of the aircraft presented a flexing problem due to air turbulence at low altitude. To alleviate this, Rockwell included small triangular fin control surfaces or vanes near the nose on the B-1. The B-1's Structural Mode Control System rotates the vanes automatically to counteract turbulence and smooth out the ride.
The aircraft is operated by four crew: pilot, co-pilot, defensive systems operator (DSO) and offensive systems operator (OSO). The DSO station is equipped with the interface for AIL Systems, Inc's ALQ-161 defensive avionics system and a Honeywell multifunction display linked to the aircraft's offensive avionics system (OAS). The OSO station is equipped with two Honeywell multifunction displays linked to the OAS. Rockwell Collins received a contract in February 2004 to upgrade the displays to 5in×7in colour multifunction displays using active matrix liquid crystal (AMLCD) technology.
he B-1B is no longer armed with nuclear weapons but is capable of carrying the AGM-86B air launch cruise missile (ALCM) and the AGM-69 short-range attack missile. The aircraft has three internal weapon bays and six external hardpoints under the fuselage. The maximum internal weapons payload is 75,000lb and maximum external weapons payload is 59,000lbs.
The B-1 Lancer can fly at a maximum speed of 1,448km/h. Its service ceiling is 9,144m. The aircraft weighs around 86,182kg and its maximum take-off weight is 216,363kg.