B-1 Lancers join 379th fleet

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Tim Bazar
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
The 379th Air Expeditionary Wing welcomed its newest airframe to the fleet here Aug. 16.

For weeks the wing has played host to several B-1 Lancers, providing support to the aircraft and the people associated with it, but now the bomber is officially assigned here.

"Moving the aircraft here can help us be more focused and efficient when fighting the war on terrorism," said Lt. Col. Randy Allen, 9th Expeditionary Bomber Squadron commander. "Our new location offers more time over the countries in the (area of responsibility) and less time flying to and from them."

With their new move, Airmen deploying to support B-1 operations can expect to come here, as opposed to the 40th Air Expeditionary Group (at another undisclosed location in Southwest Asia).

The move will benefit both the Airmen and taxpayers as the fly time required to support Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom requires 25 percent less time in the air and only one aerial refueling. The former flight plan called for three refuelings.

"There will be a significant saving in the employment of the aircraft," said Maj. Joe Delgado, 9th Aircraft Maintenance Unit officer in charge. "It will save millions on fuel and manhours. The planes will fly fewer hours, which means less wear and tear on the planes. Less wear and tear means less maintenance. It makes perfect sense that they should be here."

Since the wing began hosting the B-1 in June, the aircraft  has flown more than 120 sorties and dropped more than 225 bombs in support of the war on terrorism.