The U.S. Air Force has launched plans to retire 17 B-1B Lancer long-range bombers throughout Fiscal Year 2021.
A report appeared on Wednesday, citing the U.S. Defense Department’s Fiscal Year 2021 (FY2021) Budget Estimates, that additional B-1B Lancers will be retired during 2021.
The report also added that on 17 September last year, Gen. Goldfein said that over the past few years, the USAF flew the B-1B in its least optimal configuration.
The results of that are stresses on the plane that were not expected for its airframe. As a result, the Lancer fleet sees vital structural issues throughout depot maintenance. The B-1B averages 9,701 airframe hours as of last month.
The B-1 is a highly versatile, multi-mission weapon system. The B-1B’s blended body structure, variable-geometry wings, and turbofan afterburning engines combine to provide long-range, maneuverability, and high speed while improving survivability.
For the last 18 years, the B-1B Lancer has seen battles and has been known as a workhorse. Therefore, years of deployed operations in the Middle East and Afganistan left their mark on the situation of the entire line of planes.
The Military.com stated that the B-1’s long-planned retirement timeframe is a crucial component to effective fleet management throughout the transition to the B-21. The Air Force will gradually retire B-1s, starting with the most expensive and structurally deficient of the airframes.