The development of the B-1B Lancer bomber was difficult to say the least. Originally conceived to fulfill a USAF requirement for an Advanced Manned Strategic Aircraft, the original B-1A concept aircraft was accused of being a white elephant, capable of performing nothing which could not be achieved at less financial and human expense than an intercontinental ballistic missile. Cancelled by the Carter administration and finally commissioned by President Reagan as the modified B-1B, the Lancer began its duties as a nuclear-armed bomber in the mid-1980s. The end of the Cold War (1946-1991) intervened and the jet was removed from its nuclear missions as a result of arms control legislation. However, the 1990s saw the metamorphosis of the Lancer into a potent conventional weapons carrier which has seen action in Iraq, the Balkans and Afghanistan. The Lancer has proved its critics wrong in demonstrating its use as a highly flexible and hard-working bomber, able to undertake diverse missions ranging from CAS to the targeting of weapons-of-mass-destruction installations.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is essential for anyone who has more than a passing interest in the Bone. It covers the basic history of the B-1 as it progressed from the B-1A program that was canceled by the Carter administration only to be revised and revamped as the B-1B under Ronald Reagan. Originally designed with a very specialized cold war low-level super-sonic nuclear delivery mission, the B-1B made the soviets very nervous. The dismantling of it's nuclear mission was a key component of the START treaty with the former USSR. Where this book really excells is in it's coverage of what the B-1 has become since those days. It's evolution into an extremely capable conventional bomber is fascinating. Withington covers it's key roles in Desert Fox and Kosovo in great detail. As time passed the brilliant coupling of the B-1s remarkable weapons load and endurance with precision weapons has turned it into a lethal Close Air Support platform. Again, Withington's work here is excellent. This thorouogh...
I am a huge fan of the Lancer. I've seen them do fly-by demos at air shows and they are truly terrifying at low altitude. This book is so technical and so dry that it literally boils out the essence of what it's like to fly one of these monsters on the deck at 600 knots. That's a bit of a shame. But you WILL learn about the purpose of every bolt on this aircraft...
I needed a reference book on the B-1 (Bone, as the crews call her) for an upcoming novel I'm writing. Not only did "B-1B Lancer Units in Combat" satisfy this need, it was damn interesting to read as well. Loaded with high-quality color photos, good description of the role played by the crew on missions, and historical context documenting how this bird miraculously went from edge of extinction to high-value work horse, including ground support missions.
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