WARSAW, (BM) – The US Air Force conducted tests with the B-1B Lancer bomber to increase the number of AGM-158 JASSM cruise missiles to 36, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24. Interestingly, the missile was hung on a pylon commonly used to carry the Sniper-XR surveillance pod.
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The flight tests, photos of which were published by the US Air Force, were conducted on the 419th Flight Test Squadron B-1B Lancer of the 412th Test Wing of Edwards Air Force Base in California. It is an element of the program, the aim of which is to increase the number of carried cruise missiles, by using external pylons for which the machine has 6 mounting points under the fuselage. Currently, only one is used, on which the Lockheed Martin AN / AAQ-33 Sniper tray has been placed since 2007, and now also the Sniper-XR [Extended Range].
These pylons have not been used to carry weapons for over 30 years, although they were originally designed to carry the AGM-86B ALCM missiles with nuclear warheads. However, since 1994, the B-1B Lancer was delegated only to carry out conventional missions, and in 2007, the dismantling of components for the transfer of nuclear weapons began in accordance with the START [Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty] treaty, adapting the machines to the use of e.g. Sniper containers.
The current tests were to check whether the external pylons could still be used to carry weapons. The first ones will be the AGM-158A JASSM and AGM-158B JASSM-Extended Range [JASSM-ER] maneuvering missiles, as well as the AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile [LRASM] anti-ship missiles. Ultimately, however, the bombers will carry the currently developed AGM-158D JASSM-XR with an extremely extended range and hyperosonic missiles with conventional and nuclear warheads.
If further tests confirm that the structure of the B-1B Lancer can withstand the load of carrying and firing projectiles from the outer pylons, then these capabilities will be restored on the “least worn out machines”. This is the method the US Air Force wants to provide cruise missile bridging capabilities until the B-21 Raider bombers are brought into service, despite a reduction in the number of bombers in service. By the end of 2021, 17 B-1B Lancer aircraft are to be withdrawn from service.
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. This statement was voiced by US Air Force General Timothy Ray on April 10 this year. According to the source, hypersonic weapons are planned to be placed in the internal compartments of the bomber, as well as on external suspensions.
The remaining B-1B Lancer bombers will be equipped with these weapons after 17 such aircraft are decommissioned. The military spokesman noted that in this way the B-1B Lancer will 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.
US bombers tested a new LRSAM stealth missile over Black Sea
During the last mission over the Black Sea, which took place jointly with Poland, Romania and Ukraine, US Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers tested and prepared the latest anti-ship missile AGR-158C LRASM, as we reported in June this year.
On June 1, 2020, the U.S. Air Force Europe Command (USAFE) issued an official statement on the last flight over the Black Sea, stating that the mission of the B-1B Lancer bombers was focused on the preparation of the long-range anti-ship missile AGR-158C LRASM.
Also, the flight crews were trained to withstand sudden threats in the region. “The increase in the number of closest competitors and the growing tension between NATO and our opponents have returned the potential of anti-ship actions to the forefront of the anti-surface peace mission for bombers,” said the planner of the Bomber Task Force, Lt. Col. Timothy Albrecht.
The AGR-158C LRASM missile, based on the AGM-158B Integrated Long-Range Antiaircraft Missile (JASSM-ER), is a new stealth anti-ship cruise missile developed by the DARPA (Advanced Defense Research Projects Agency) for the US Air Force and Navy.
It is already integrated into the B-1B Lancer and the F / A-18E / F Super Hornet, and will now also be used with the P-8 Poseidon and MK41 vertical launch systems. The B-1B can carry up to 24 such missiles, according to The Aviationist magazine.
According to the publication, this missile, armed with penetrating explosives with a capacity of 1,000 pounds (454 kg) and a fragmentation warhead, is capable of performing high-precision guidance in all weather conditions for a predetermined target.
LRASM is equipped with an electronic support system (ESM), a radar warning receiver (RWR) and artificial intelligence (AI) to prevent threats and recognize the enemy. Recall, last week, two US Air Force Lancer from the 28th bombing wing, based at the Ellsworth Air Force Base, carried out a bomber mission over Eastern Europe, flying with Polish F-16s and MiG-29s, Romanian F-16s and MiGs -21, as well as the Ukrainian Su-27 and MiG-29.
All aircraft were intercepted by Russian Su-27 over the Black Sea. After these events, they were declared at the General Staff of the Russian Federation that these combat vehicles were closely monitored by Russian air defense and could be easily eliminated if they were critically close to the state border of Russia.
Nicknamed “The Bone,” the B-1B Lancer is a long-range, multi-mission, supersonic conventional bomber, which has served the United States Air Force since 1985. The aircraft is on track to continue flying, at current demanding operations tempo, out to 2040 and beyond, and Boeing partners with the Air Force to keep the B-1 mission ready. Originally 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 ordnance, and 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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