Description: The B1-B Lancer is the fastest bomber in American service. It's four 30,000 lb afterburning General Electric F-101-GE-102 turbofans propel this massive swing wing aircraft along at mach 1.2 sea level. Range is equally impressive, the Lancer can deliver it's payload between continents without needing to be refueled in the the air.
The origins of the aircraft date back to the 1970s with the B1a program for a long range multi-role heavy bomber. The program was cancelled by the Carter administration however. In 1981 under Reagan's government the program was revived as the B1b. First flight took place in 1984 and the Lancer entered combat service in 1986.
The design and construction of the aircraft incorporates stealth technology as is common for many of the newest US war planes. By using radar absorbing materials and other techniques the radar signiture for this massive jet plane is a mere 1% that of the equally massive B52. This coupled with the aircraft's speed make it a difficult target for enemy fighters to intercept.
Variable geometry wings are part of the B1b design (Swing Wings). Forward sweep is used for take off, landing and fuel efficient cruising, while when speed is needed the wings sweep back reducing drag and airframe stress.
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