The Air Force intends to put its concept for a future long-range intelligence-reconnaissance-surveillance/strike platform to the test with modifications to the B-1B bomber. “That is what is envisioned for the future arsenal of the Air Force: an aircraft that includes ISR, directed energy, and network attack,” explained Col. Charles Sherwin, 427th Aircraft Sustainment Group commander at Tinker AFB, Okla. He added that “all” of these capabilities “are being integrated or demonstrated” on the B-1B in the immediate future. Under the electric laser on a large aircraft initiative, the service plans to install a directed energy weapon on the B-1. “In effect,” said Sherwin, “uniting this capability” with the Sniper targeting pod already on the bomber will make the B-1 “a first- generation” long-range ISR/strike aircraft. (Tinker report by Brandice J. Armstrong)
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force recently, as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S., as the bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.