|The B-1 history has been full of controversy since it's introduction in 1985. The B-1's original mission was the dropping of Nuclear weapons deep in the heart of the Soviet Union, however, in 1997 this role was dropped. Since then its supporters have been battling to redefine it's role but this has not been easy. Technical problems have plagued it's operational life, from faulty engines, system leaks and cracked landing gear to incompatible electrical systems, there have been a seriesof upgrades which have been required to keep the type at operational readiness. Severe underfunding has not helped matters and this has made the B-1 reduction neccessary. The projected savings resulting from the fleet restructure is in the order of $130,000,000, this will be routed back to the fund further system upgrades for the remaining operational aircraft. |
Recent upgrades to electronic, smart weaponary and decoy systems have significantly increased the B-1Bs capabilities. In bombing missions over Afghanistan the B-1B dropped more munitions than any over aircraft type and was seen as a critical component during the conflict. B-1 supporters will point to this as proof that their beliefs in the type were justified and that it does have a future with the Air Force ahead of it.
24 B-1B's are to be delivered to AMARC to provide attrition replacements and spare parts. 10 will be placed in inviolate storage, keeping them ready for re-introduction to the operational fleet. The other 14 will be turned over for reclamation and will help provide spare parts.