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Acquisiton of the B-1 Lancer

Acquisitonof the B-1 Lancer

Acquisitonof the B-1 Lancer

TheUS has some of the states of the art military planes one of thembeing the B-1 lancer. The U.S. Air Force started developing plans anddesigns for a supersonic military bomber aircraft in the late 1960s.The initial basic idea was to develop a supersonic military bomberthat could substitute the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. The Boeing B-52Stratofortress was than one of the most powerful U.S. militaryaircraft in service. The prototype of the B-1 military bomber wasbuilt up in the 1970s, but the development project was delayed manytimes and eventually ended up being cancelled due to shiftingpolitical and military priorities. This paper seeks to explain thebackground information about the B-1 Lancer aircraft giving detailson how it was purchased including modifications made on it.

Discussion A fresh version of the B-1 military bomber reappeared inthe 1980s and was then known as the &quotB-1B Lancer.&quot Thisaircraft came in service with the U.S. Air Force in the year 1986. Itis still being used for military combat missions as of the year 2011.A total of about 70 B-1 military bomber aircraft has been developedand acquired by the U.S. military at a cost of about $300 million peraircraft. The B-1 bomber has over the years experienced severalupgrades to add improved data link networks, a variety of weapons andimproved targeting systems. The B-1 bomber aircraft gets built byRockwell company, which is a division of the Boeing Company. Theplane can get distinguished by its speed and warhead. The plane cantravel at supersonic speeds releasing its launches bombs while theaim is still over the horizon (Casil, 2003). The B-1 bomberaircrafts’ maximum speed is Mach 1.25. The aircrafts’s low speedlevel gets set at Mach 0.92 –. The B-1 bomber’s maximum weight attakeoff is 477,000 pounds. When it comes to weapons, the B-1 bomberaircraft carries an impressive warhead that includes hard points forsix external bombs, cluster bombs, quick strike sea mines, smalldiameter bombs, GBU-31 guided bombs and an AGM-154 Joint StandoffWeapon. The bomber plane also can carry a nuclear bomb if need is.The B-1 bomber aircraft gets used for combat missions in Iraq,Afghanistan and Kosovo. The B-1 has gets found with fault in somecircles over its high maintenance cost. The aircraft deedsapproximately $720,000 worth of repairs and maintenance for every 12hours of flight time (Fredriksen, 2011).

Background The U.S. Air Force announced that it required modern bomber aircraftwith the range and warhead of B-52 Stratofortress aircraft . It alsohaving the Conviair B-58 Hustlers’ maximum speed of Mach 2. As atthe end of 1957, the U.S. Air Force chose the proposal by NorthAmericas Aviation is to substitute the B-52 aircraft with the B-7Valkyrie. The six-engine Valkyrie aircraft bomber had a maximum speedof Mach 3 and could fly at high altitude to avert an enemy fighteraircraft. The Valkyrie was arguably best fighter aircraft to useduring the 1950s. Aircrafts that belonged to the state by then didnot have the ability to stop Lockheed U-2 which flew at high speed.The Valkyrie aircraft would be able to fly at high altitudes but atvery high speed. In the battle, everyone expected the B-70 aircraftto defeat enemy defenders due to its high speed capability (Casil,2003).

Duringthe late 1950s, military wars began adoptingsurface-to-air-missiles(SAMs). This use largely endangered the useaircrafts flying at high altitude.. This effect got shown by thedowning of the 1960s (U-2). The Strategic Air Command which was thenerve centre controlling fighter aircrafts began low altitudepenetration ahead of the Gart’s U-2. This maneuver extensivelyhelped in the minimizing length. Terrain masking was also a strategyused as aircrafts had features like the environment they operated in.This result makes the radar view impaired, making people manning theradar unable to see the target. Flying in high altitudes in that erawas an advantage also because of the inefficiencies in systems bythen. Radar systems of those times were mostly affected by clutteredrays from the ground. This necessitating a minimum angle to be usedto fly above the ground to be efficient. Low altitude bomberaircrafts could be able to stay below these angles comfortably flying(Fredriksen, 2011). This tactic of flying at low altitudes,therefore, made surface-to-air-missiles effective against low-flying.Nevertheless, aircrafts flying at low altitude level were hard todiscover by interceptors flying at high altitude levels. This harddiscovery was because their radar systems failed to easily identifyenemy planes against ground reflections the clutter rays.Developersgave new features for a low altitude flying B-70 causing it to have ahigher drag at low altitude., The presence of a higher drag causedthe B-70 to have a lower speed.This low speed resulted in a low rangeaircraft which was not pleasant. The result would be a thedevelopment of a low speed aircraft with a lower range than even theplane it was intended to replace. The aircraft did not seem to fitthe low altitude flying part it was developed for intendedcancellation of the program., Shifting political interests alsobecame one of because cancellation. President John F Kennedy,therefore, cancelled the development program in the year 1961.Despite the fact that the engineers developers never intended B-52aircraft for the low-level part, its flexibility made it outlive itsproposed successor due to changes in air war.. The B-52 aircraft’scapacity to carry many litres of fuel allowed it to function forlonger periods at lower altitudes. The presence of large airframeallowed developers to add electronic features in it as countermeasures for radar detection. (Casil, 2003).

Theconception that all wars in the future would be nuclear got seriousas the B-52s` raised bomb load to 60,000 pounds. The B-52 was thenburned into a helpful aircraft against ground troops and also couldtake out strategic targets at high altitudes (Fredriksen, 2011).

HowB-1 Lancer was purchased to includemodifications

PresidentRichard Nixon advocated for the reinstatement of some programs,inline with the interactive nature of his administration. Thisapproach that necessitated a wide range of options which dealt withnuclear war. Melvin Laird the secretary of defence then examined thedevelopment programs and resolved to reduce production of aircraftswhich did not meet range expectations. Melvin then maderecommendations that design and developmental studies should movefast in developing better aircrafts. In April 1969, the B-1A designaircraft design was developed officially. This development became thefoundation of the B-1A series development in 1962 (Petrescu, 2013).

TheUS Air Force provided a request for proposals for the development ofthe aircrafts in November 1969. Development proposals get submittedby three companies Boeing, North American Rockwell and GeneralDynamics in January 1970. North American Rockwell`s aircraft designwas successful and got awarded a development contract in June 1970,after careful evaluation of all the designs presented.. The originalprogram sought to deliver five flyable aircraft, two test airframes,and 40 engines. These suggestions were cut down in the year 1971 tothree flight test. Some changes got made during the year 1973. Thechange was that the North American Company altered its name toRockwell international. In the fiscal year 1976s’ budget a fourthprototype, developed to production standards, received ordered(Fredriksen, 2011). These upgrades were made to help pilotssurvive in the event of ejection. In addition, the design was fittedwith wings able to provide needed lift in both takes off and landing,it also helps to keep drag at low levels during the dash phase. Thewide wings provide a good lift, a feature allowed the aircraft tooperate from wider grounds. Defeating an enemy would be easier as theaircraft flies with supersonic speeds able to reach main lands andback unnoticed.. The striking portion of the plane also can beconsiderably large due to the huge size and fuel capacity of theplane. Exhaust nozzles and air intake inlets get fitted into theaircraft to provide the expected performance making them variablefrom one direction to another (Pavelec, 2010). Developers hadanticipated that the high speed of mach 1.2 was unattainable at lowaltitude, this necessitated the use of titanium in the wingstructure. Later on, the high performance at low altitude wasreduced, bringing down the cost of titanium. The pair of vanes at thenose helps to reduce vibration in the aircraft. Some of the firstaircrafts had ejectable pilot sections in the event of an emergency.In other upgrades, each pilot was fitted with an ejectable crew seatable to eject individually (Petrescu, 2013).

Whenand why the acquisitionof the B-1 lancer was cancelled?When did the programrestart? In the year 1976, Soviet pilot Viktor Belenkodefected to Japan with his MiG-25 Foxbat. During debriefing hereported that a new &quotsuper-Foxbat&quot had shot down radarsystems to allow it attack cruise missiles. This development wouldalso make any low altitude flying aircraft penetration visible. Dueto the similarity in features for both B-1 and B-52 the programreceived various criticism. These criticism mainly came from senatorWilliam claiming it is expensive.. In the year 1976 federal electioncampaign, Jimmy Carter from the democratic party made it the Party`scampaign platforms, saying that the B-1 bomber program should not befinanced because it was seen to be wasting taxpayers money (Pavelec,2010).

WhenJimmy Carter took office in the year 1977 revision of the wholeprogram was done. By that point in time, the forecasted program costhad risen to 100$ million dollars per aircraft. Carter got told of ajob on stealth aircraft that had begun in the year 1975, he decidedthat stealth aircraft development be a better avenue of approach thanthe B-1. A smaller number of B-52 aircraft could launch much airlaunched cruise missiles, saturating the defense. A program toimprove the B-52 aircraft and deploy the air launched cruise missileswould cost possibly 20% of the price to place the planned 244 B-1As(Pavelec, 2010).

B-1Aprogram got cancelled in favour of another weapon in mid 1977. Thiscancellation also meant that a fleet of modernized B-52 aircraftarmed with aircraft launched cruise missiles got improved. AdvancedTechnology Bomber program got initiated alongside development of theB-52.. Internally,the department of defence and other governmentofficials received divided along partisan lines due to thecancellation of the program. It seemed the state was more concernedabout large number of air launched cruise missiles, symbolizing abigger threat than a smaller number of B-1 aircrafts. The state newsreported that the military plans which were to be implemented hadworsened the race of strategic arms. The decision made westernmilitary leaders happy and soon after training began (Petrescu,2013).

Flighttests of B-1A program continued throughout 1981. The program can bemade up of 70 flights giving a total of 378 flight hours. The B-1Amanaged to attain a maximum speed of mach 2.22. A total of 7600flight hours got spent testing the YF101 aircraft engine. During thistime, the state started taking serious stands. These tough stands gotseen during the cold war through Cuba and the Angolan civil war.Apparently the approach was being used to concentrate on containingcommunists action in Europe (Casil,2003).

RonaldReagan, during the 1980 elections, campaigned largely on grounds thatCarter did not understand issues on defence and therefore weak., Hegave the example of the cancelled B-1 aircraft. Reagans’ campaignused this as a campaign strategy throughout 1980s. Carter isapparently saying that the stealth bomber project was because the B-1program cancellation (Casil, 2003).

Howdid the acquisition of theB-1 Lancer cause change orimprovement to the acquisitionprocess? The acquisition of the B-1 had thenbecome a political issue, therefore, projects were being cancelled infavour of other better programs. The acquisition changed rather thanimproving because every incoming head of state had their own agendaand on assuming office fail to complete it.

Howwould this be different ifthis were not in thefederal arena?

Theacquisition procedures, terms and conditions in federal departmentscan be quite lengthy. This reason can be explained by the fact thatno one office can handle such a high value acquisition of asset orequipment. It requires liaison with the relevant stakeholders to makesure everything goes well. The national arena also can be affected bythe various political forces present. This effects can pose achallenge to the development and acquisition of such equipment sincepriority`s shift over time (Petrescu, 2013).

Conclusion In conclusion, the Air Force can be seen to be in the early stagesof a multi-year technological and information age overhaul of its B-1Lancer bomber. It has come a long way, but its getting better andbetter. The new upgrade features allow aircraft to be fitted withcomputer technology, a wide-ranging suite of new displays, andavionics. This modernization process can be the most significantupgrade to the B-1 aircraft since its initial production. Air Forceprocurement, acquisition and installation of all three upgrades haveminimal installation costs. This minimizes aircraft downtime, andholds fielded aircraft configurations to a minimum for maintenance,aircrew training, and operational deployment efficiencies.


Casil,A. S. (2003). TheB-1 Lancer.New York: Rosen Central.

Fredriksen,J. C. (2011). UnitedStates Air Force, The: A Chronology.Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.

Pavelec,S. M. (2010). Themilitary-industrial complex and American society.Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO.

Petrescu,R. V. (2013). Aviationhistory.S.l.: Books On Demand.