Rockwell B-1


The Rockwell B-1 Lancer was developed by Rockwell International, as a result of plans to produce an Advanced Manned Strategic Aircraft. This aircraft was designed to have a greater weapons capability, shorter take-off run, improved avionics, and reduced infra-red signature and radar cross section, which would enhance penetration and reduce its targetability.

In 1964 Short Range Attack Missiles were developed, which created a need for a new bomber to carry this new type of weaponry. In 1974 four prototype B1-As were produced to replace the B-52, as the primary strategic bomber of the USAF. It was intended that approximately 241 aircraft would be produced with a target price of $205 million per aircraft. Therefore, the B1-A was potentially the most expensive combat aircraft in aviation history.

In 1977 the development of the B-1A was terminated due to controversy surrounding the cost and role of this aircraft. In 1981 the Reagan administration restarted the development of Advanced Manned Strategic Aircraft. As a result of this process 100 B1-B aircraft were produced, in 1984, at a cost of approximately $200 million dollars per aircraft.

The B-1B is a variable geometry bomber, with a blended swing-wing, and fuselage contours that exclude sharp lines. The B1-B was designed as a powerful weapons system, which could be operated at short notice, with a great deal of speed and accuracy, within a variety of conditions.

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