Military Aviation

SOME INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT B-1A FOURTH PROTOTYPE

Four prototypes of the B-1A Mach 2.2 strategic bomber were developed and tested in the mid-1970s, but the program was canceled in 1977 before going into production

The cool photo in this post shows B-1A tail number 76-0174 which actually is B-1A No.4.

On Aug. 6, 1980 this aircraft completed an 11-hour sortie which at the time was the longest nonstop flight logged by a B-1.

First flown in February 1979, the USAF primarily used 76-0174 as the avionics test bed for the B-1B Program. Unlike the other B-1As which had crew escape modules, this aircraft had ejection seats (standard on the B-1B).

Today this aircraft is on display at the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum near Offutt Air Force Base (AFB) in Nebraska.

The B-1A was initially developed in the 1970s as a replacement for the B-52. Four prototypes of this long-range, high speed (Mach 2.2) strategic bomber were developed and tested in the mid-1970s, but the program was canceled in 1977 before going into production. Flight testing continued through 1981.

The B-1B is an improved variant initiated by the Reagan administration in 1981. Major changes included and additional structure to increase payload by 74,000 pounds, an improved radar and reduction of the radar cross-section (RCS) by an order of magnitude. The inlet was extensively modified as part of this RCS reduction, necessitating a reduction in maximum speed to Mach 1.2.

The first production B-1 flew in October 1984, and the first B-1B was delivered to Dyess AFB, Texas, in June 1985. Initial operational capability (IOC) was achieved on Oct. 1, 1986. The final B-1B was delivered May 2, 1988.

The B-1B holds almost 50 world records for speed, payload, range, and time of climb in its class. The National Aeronautic Association recognized the B-1B for completing one of the 10 most memorable record flights for 1994. The most recent records were made official in 2004.

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. B-1B Lancer 28th FW, 34th BS Thunderbirds, EL/86-129 / 2005

Photo credit: Edwards History Office file photo / U.S. Air Force

Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com

Source: U.S. Air Force

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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