Historic landing of the US B-1B Lancer in the Arctic [photos]

PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – For the first time in history, an American strategic bomber landed on an Allied airbase outside the Arctic Circle, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24. It was one of four B-1B Lancers currently in Norway on an Allied mission during which they operated, among others, together with Norway, Denmark, Germany, and Poland. Also, this is the first time that these machines have been introduced in Norway.

Historic landing of the US B-1B Lancer in the Arctic [photos]
Photo credit: USAF

Four B-1B Lancer supersonic strategic bombers landed at Ørland Air Base in southern Norway in early February 20201 and will remain there until almost March. The machines are permanently stationed at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. Still, the crews and more than 2,000 ground personnel already have some experience operating from air bases in the north, but so far, they have only been installations in the United States. For the first time and in such a long time, the planes operated from Norway using the Allied support and logistics system.

Restrictions related to COVID-19 are also necessary. Staff arriving in Ørland is subject to a 10-day traffic restriction (ROM). All this, although it was subject to mandatory inspection and testing before leaving Texas. The pandemic is a serious shortcoming, but it must not hinder the fulfillment of Allied commitments.

Historic landing of the US B-1B Lancer in the Arctic [photos]
Photo credit: USAF

US strategic bombers also carry out regular missions over the waters of the North and Baltic Seas. On 3 March, Danish, Norwegian, Polish, German, and Italian aircraft (participating in the Baltic Air Police mission) took part in joint operations with B-1B. Launchers appeared, among others over Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, which, of course, provoked protests and a nervous reaction from the Russian side, as if the Tu-160 did not regularly fly around Scandinavia to the north coast of Great Britain.

From the point of view of USAF’s operational activities, the most interesting is undoubtedly a small episode: the landing of one of the B-1B Lancer bombers at the Bodø base in Nordland. It locates outside the Arctic Circle. The Norwegian F-16, responsible for intercepting Russian aircraft operating over the North Sea, most often from bases on the Kola Peninsula, is stationed here permanently. Bodø fighters often collide with the Tu-160 and Tu-95 strategic bombers. This time the American bomber landed here, refueled, and after a short stop rose into the air.

The US supersonic strategic B-1B bomber will receive 31 hypersonic missiles

The B-1B Lancer supersonic strategic bomber of the United States with a variable-sweep wing can be equipped with 31 hypersonic missiles. US Air Force General Timothy Ray voiced this statement on April 10, 2020. According to the source, hypersonic weapons are planned to be placed in the bomber’s internal compartments, as well as on external suspensions.

The remaining B-1B Lancer bombers will be equipped with these weapons after 17 such aircraft are decommissioned. In this way, the military spokesman noted that the B-1B Lancer would be able to unload the strategic bombers B-52 Stratofortress. The source added that B-1B could also be involved in hypersonic weapon tests. Earlier it was reported the start of testing American military laser weapons outside the continental United States.

The Bone

Nicknamed “The Bone,” the B-1B Lancer is a long-range, multi-mission, conventional supersonic bomber, which has served the United States Air Force since 1985. The aircraft is on track to continue flying, at the current demanding operations tempo, out to 2040 and beyond, and Boeing partners with the Air Force to keep the B-1 mission ready. Initially designed for nuclear capabilities, the B-1 switched to an exclusively conventional combat role in the mid-1990s.

In 1999, during Operation Allied Force, six B-1s flew 2 percent of the strike missions, yet dropped 20 percent of the artillery. During Operation Enduring Freedom, the B-1 flew on 2 percent of the sorties while dropping over 40 percent of the precision weapons. The B-1 has been nearly continuously deployed in combat operations over Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001.

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