B-1B Nears Longevity Milestone

The first B-1B bomber is expected to reach the 10,000-hour flying mark sometime in June, according to officials at Tinker AFB, Okla. Tinker is home of the B-1 system program office and site of the bomber’s maintenance and sustainment activities. This milestone, said Bill Barnes, deputy SPO director, “is a testament to the continuous service this fleet provides to US and coalition ground forces.” He called the B-1 fleet “the backbone of today’s deployed bomber operations” in Afghanistan and Iraq. Brig. Gen. Bruce Litchfield, commander of Tinker’s 76th Maintenance Wing, credited “the dedicated, hardworking folks” at Tinker for the bomber’s success and its continual enhancements. There are 66 B-1s in service today. Originally envisioned with a 20-year service life back in 1985, B-1s are currently scheduled to remain in the fleet until around 2040 (Tinker report by Brandice J. Armstrong)