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B-1B finds home at Air Force Museum

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFPN) -- One of a fleet of aircraft commonly identified as the backbone of America's long-range bomber force and a vital enabler of U.S. global power projection found a new home at the U.S. Air Force Museum Sept 10 when a B-1B Lancer landed on a runway behind the museum here.

Flown in directly from the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, the B-1B is the latest addition to the museum's expanding aircraft collection. The bomber has been retired from active flying status after 16 years of service.

Museum restoration staff members will prepare the aircraft for public display before placing it in the museum's new 200,000 square-foot third hangar currently under construction and scheduled to open in Spring 2003.

"The B-1B will replace our B-1A currently on display in our airpark," said retired Maj. Gen. Charles D. Metcalf, museum director. "It's really special to get this particular B-1B as it has an extensive operational background. Our B-1A was a test aircraft."

Designated tail number 84-0051, the museum's B-1B came to Dyess AFB on July 9, 1986. During its service life, the aircraft flew primarily training missions, recording 4,882.4 flight hours during 1,071 sorties. It earned the distinction of being the first B-1B to reach 2,000 flying hours.

The B-1B provides massive and rapid weapons delivery against targets anywhere on the globe. Its blended wing/body configuration and turbofan engines furnish the bomber's greater range and high speed with enhanced survivability against sophisticated enemy air defenses.

The Lancer's speed, maneuverability and large payload make it a critical component of any joint/composite strike force.

An important weapon platform in America's war on terrorism, the B-1B has been employed extensively as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, bombing key Taliban targets and cave networks in Afghanistan.

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