The B-1B, a swing-wing aircraft that is commonly called the “Bone,” is considered to be one of three strategic bombers in the U.S. Air Force fleet, with the others being the B-2 Spirit and the B-52 Stratofortress.
As Tyler Rogoway at the War Zone recently reported, just last week the B-1B “made a triumphant touch and go before coming in to land after a local mission.”
Team Effort in Europe
Currently forward deployed to RAF Fairford in England as part of Bomber Task Force-Europe, these particular bombers regularly engage in full-scale operations with NATO and other regional allies, with the chief aim of deterring Russia’s military ambitions.
“A pair of the B-1Bs flew from RAF Fairford to Lithuania to train with forward air controllers on the ground there, before making an unprecedented stop at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany to refuel and then heading back to RAF Fairford,” Rogoway writes.
“Today the big swing-wing bombers headed out on more local missions and upon returning from one of these sorties, a Bone executed a touch and go followed by a touch of afterburner and the execution of an incredible banking climb—almost a wing-over—before landing,” he continues.
The entire flight sequence can be seen on the video below that was shared by Saint1 (@Saint1Mil on Twitter).
He described it like this: “DARK flight of two B-1s left Fairford this morning and flew a local loop up to Scotland and returned to Fairford. One of the two aircraft then hot pitted (refueled without shutting down its engines) and went out again as DARK33 around mid-day, again on a local loop (probably the same) … DARK33 then returned late in the afternoon and did an over-the-top left-hand break, then a touch and go with the tight turn and then landed. Note that he hit the brakes hard at the end of the runway in the clip.”
Video Doesn’t Do the Planes Justice
Rogoway mentioned that “it must have looked incredible and sounded even better in person, but at least we can get the next best thing thanks to Saint1’s sweet video.”
“The Bone can be a nimble aircraft for its size at slow speeds and light gross-weights with its wings spread. You can see its massive control surfaces working at full deflection in the video. In fact, that maneuver looks a lot like what you would see in this B-1B air show demo,” he continues.
Not to be outdone, there is also another great video of the detachment of the B-1s heading out on their first in-theater mission. “This included low-light launches, which are notoriously awesome for B-1B,” Rogoway says.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.