The B-1 Bomber

What is the status of the B-1 bomber as a weapons system? B-52’s were used in the Gulf and the B-2 was used in the Balkans, but I don’t recall reports about the B-1. I know it never performed as expected and had a few spectacular failures. Has the US written this thing off?

An update on the B-1B.

Last I heard, they were grounded until they figured out how to keep them from eating birds. But that was a couple of years ago.

The National Guard flys them operationally out of Robins AFB, Ga. I saw this on my retina, so it must be true. Now as to why the National Guard flys a strategic nuclear bomber, I haven’t a clue.

A point in every direction is like no point at all

The link above adresses National Guard deployment of the B-1B; basically it says they fly’em in their conventional weapons carrier role.

After the Gulf War, the terms “strategic” and “tactical” as references for military weapons systems became obsolete (i.e. Cold War mentality).

B-52s (once strategic weapons) were used in the Gulf as tactical weapons. They bombed troop concentrations in preparation for a ground attack-- classic AirLand doctrine. Tactical weapons, like stealth fighters and non-nuke cruise missiles were used to take out strategic targets in the Iraqi infrastructure-- national command centers, for example.

Because we have to get more bang for the defense dollar, weapon systems are now designed for both roles, if needed. The need to designate “strategic” vs. “tactical” sort of went out the window after the fall of the USSR/Warsaw Pact.

…send lawyers, guns, and money…

       Warren Zevon

Thanks for the link beatle, a lot of good info. I should have clicked on it prior to my post. Chalk it up to SDMB posting withdrawal.

I’m not sure I’d agree with that. The end of the Cold War certainly means downplaying the importance of the most powerful strategic systems (i.e. nukes) but the terms “strategic” and “tactical” basically mean “big” and “small”. An aircraft carrier, even without any nukes, will always be a strategic weapon system. That is, it’s deployment is not “battle” specific but “war” specific. You don’t send a carrier to a battle you send a carrier to a war zone.
The B-52s carpet bombing in the Gulf War was an example of a strategic deployment not tactical. They were sent to bomb huge areas indiscriminately for several weeks, essentially doing the same thing a nuke would do only not as quick (or as politically offensive).

I for one welcome our new insect overlords… - K. Brockman

True, tactical strikes secure individual objectives while strategic strikes shape the whole conflict by destroying supply lines, etc. However, Oblio brings up an interesting point. If, as some would suggest, the National Guard is what the Constitution refers to as our “milita,” what are they planning to bomb? Cure worse than disease, almost.

Sure, I’m all for moderation – as long as it’s not excessive.