A US Air Force (USAF) B-1B Lancer bomber crashed during a landing attempt at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, on January 4.
The four occupants of the supersonic jet, two pilots and two weapons systems officers, managed to eject safely.
According to meteorological reports, the accident occurred in bad weather, with low temperatures and limited visibility.
“An Air Force B-1B Lancer assigned to Ellsworth Air Force Base crashed at approximately 5:50 p.m. today while attempting to land on the installation. At the time of the accident, it was on a training mission. There were four aircrew on board. All four ejected safely. The board of officers will investigate the accident”, stated the base in a note published on its social networks.
The USAF has around 45 B-1B bombers in its fleet currently, but these will be gradually replaced during the second half of the decade by the new B-21 Raider.
The B-1B Lancer was part of the 28th Bomb Wing, which has 20 aircraft of the type in service. Ellsworth will be the first air base to receive Northrop Grumman’s new stealth bomber.
Replacement of the B-52
Developed by Rockwell (later taken over by Boeing), the B-1 would replace the B-52 as a strategic bomber, with supersonic capability and capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
The Air Force, however, changed the project amid rising costs and the realization that high-altitude attacks were no longer as effective as in the past.
In the 1980s, the program was repurposed for the B-1B, a low-altitude penetration and conventional attack aircraft.