A B-1B earlier this month detected, targeted, and engaged small boats in the Gulf of Mexico as part of an evaluation of the bomber’s capability to strike moving maritime targets. During the Sept. 4 testing, a B-1 from Dyess AFB, Tex., dropped a total of six munitions against the boats, including a GBU-54 500-pound laser-guided bomb as well as 500-pound and 2,000-pound joint direct attack munitions, according to Dyess’ Sept. 18 release. “This evaluation solidifies what our crew members have already known: we can strike surface targets,” said Lt. Col. Alejandro Gomez, special projects officer for Dyess’ 337th Test and Evaluations Squadron. “Many of the dynamic targeting skills we’ve refined over the past decade on land are directly applicable in the maritime environment,” said Capt. Alicia Datzman, the squadron’s chief of weapons and tactics. (Dyess report by SrA. Peter Thompson)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.