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B-1B Lancer bombers from Ellsworth AFB relocate to Dyess AFB
After a B-1B Lancer crashed at Ellsworth Air Force Base (AFB) in South Dakota on Jan. 4, 2024 the base’s runway was closed for investigation. Nevertheless, several B-1Bs from 28th Bomb Wing (BW) took off on Jan. 25 for the first time since the incident for their temporary base in Dyess AFB in Texas, Alert 5 reports.
According to the article Ellsworth generates bombers by Steven J. Merrill, 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs, Ellsworth AFB officials worked closely with the aircraft accident investigating team to inspect the airfield, ensured it was safe and then generated bombers for training missions that concluded with the aircraft landing at Dyess AFB, Texas.
Col. Derek Oakley, 28th BW commander, stated that the mission clearly demonstrated the Airmen accomplishing the mission at the world’s largest B-1B combat wing are capable of executing its mission and remain ready.
“It also reassures our allies and partners that we are steadfast in supporting them when needed, and reminds our nation’s adversaries of the capabilities we are able to bring to any fight, anywhere around the globe,” Oakley added.
Lancer strategic bombers temporarily relocate to Dyess AFB after B-1B crash at Ellsworth AFB
As already reported, a B-1B Lancer strategic bomber assigned to Ellsworth AFB crashed at approximately 5:50 p.m. on Jan. 4, 2024 while attempting to land on the installation. At the time of the accident, it was on a training mission. There were four aircrew on board. All four ejected safely.
The incident occurred during poor weather in below-freezing temperatures with dense fog limiting visibility, according to local weather reports. Radio traffic from local first responders said there was an “active fire” after an “explosion.”
According to a Notice to Airmen/Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) advisory issued soon after the incident, Ellsworth has been closed to flight operations.
“And while our airfield operations are currently on hold as part of the investigation, today, we proved that this weapon system is mission capable,” Oakley said.
Ellsworth AFB is located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, near Rapid City.
Col. Seth Spanier, commander of the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess AFB and former deputy commander at Ellsworth, welcomed the joint opportunity with fellow B-1B aviators to conduct training sorties.
He noted that anytime squadrons are able to share knowledge and train together it helps with bolstering readiness and the lethality of the conventional bomber force.
The B-1B Lancer
Carrying the largest conventional payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the Air Force inventory, the multi-mission B-1B Lancer is the backbone of America’s long-range bomber force. It can rapidly deliver massive quantities of precision and non-precision weapons against any adversary, anywhere in the world, at any time.
The B-1B’s blended wing/body configuration, variable-geometry wings and turbofan afterburning engines, combine to provide long range, maneuverability and high speed while enhancing survivability. Forward wing settings are used for takeoff, landings, air refueling and in some high-altitude weapons employment scenarios. Aft wing sweep settings – the main combat configuration — are typically used during high subsonic and supersonic flight, enhancing the B-1B’s maneuverability in the low- and high-altitude regimes.
The B-1B’s speed and superior handling characteristics allow it to seamlessly integrate in mixed force packages. These capabilities, when combined with its substantial payload, excellent radar targeting system, long loiter time and survivability, make the B-1B a key element of any joint/composite strike force.
Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Jake Jacobsen / U.S. Air Force