Air Force Prepares For Eventual Retirement of B-1, Transition to B-21

Air Force Prepares For Eventual Retirement of B-1, Transition to B-21

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The Air Force is looking toward the future of its B-1 bomber, including plans for upgrades to the bomber while also preparing it for an eventual retirement, Fox News reported.

The plans including maximizing the bomber’s firepower while also setting up the transition to the B-21 bomber, Air Force officials told Warrior Maven, Fox News reported.

The B-1 is getting new targeting and intelligence systems, said Maj. Emily Grabowski, Air Force spokeswoman, Fox News reported.

Service officials said the technical overhaul is the largest in the B-1’s history. Upgrades will allow the B-1 to increase its carriage capacity of 500-pound class weapons by 60 percent, the report said.

No timetable has been set for the B-1’s retirement, and the B-21 is expected to emerge by the mid-2020s. The B-1 is not likely to be retired before the 2030s, Warrior Maven’s report said.

The B-1, which can hit speeds of Mach 1.25 at 40,000 feet, debuted in combat in Operation Desert Fox in 1998, the report noted.

Early in June, the B-1B Lancer bomber was grounded over a safety issue with its ejection system. The Air Force announced it would restart the bomber’s flights in a June 19 statement.