by 2nd Lt. Lauren Linscott
7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
3/9/2015 - DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- With each technological advancement in armament, the B-1B Lancer asserts itself yet again as a pinnacle in combat airpower.
On Dec. 2, 2014, the Department of Defense declared the Joint
Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range for the B-1 to be an
initial operational capability, signaling the JASSM-ER is ready for
real-world combat operations.
The JASSM-ER more than doubles the range of the original JASSM and
encompasses all of the same features. The JASSM is able to distinguish
between targets and bystanders, fly a varied path after deployment, and
penetrate well-fortified or buried infrastructure, which makes it one of
the smartest, most precise armament the Air Force has to offer. Now
that the JASSM can be delivered at an even greater range from the
target, the missile better protects the aircraft and crew delivering
this weaponry, as well as other aircraft in the strike package.
While the JASSM has been approved for the B-52 Stratofortress, F-15E
Strike Eagle, and F-16 Fighting Falcon, the B-1 is the only airframe to
have the JASSM-ER in the initial operational capability phase this soon
after its introduction to the DOD.
The B-1 not only adapts new weaponry and technological advancements, its
inherent design makes it an extraordinarily flexible aircraft. Due to
the bomber's swept-wing configuration, it has the ability to perform at a
variety of altitudes and can reduce its overall drag and conserve fuel
better than any of its bomber counterparts. This allows the Lancer's
range to extend across continents or stay above an area of interest for
hours. The bomber can also achieve speeds of over 900 mph thanks to its
The B-1 also brings range to reach targets; persistence to keep sensors
on a target for hours at a time; and speed for quick responses across
While the Lancer is a capable aircraft in its own right, it can be fully
integrated in the fifth generation aircraft environment of the F-22
Raptor and F-35 Lightning II, as well.
"The B-1 fights side-by-side with fighter platforms as the main strike
platform during exercises in medium and high-threat scenarios," said
Col. Jason Combs, 7th Operations Group commander. "Although the B-1
often employs as part of an integrated strike package, it also has the
sensors and range to find, track, and strike targets independently.
"The range of the B-1 and ability to work closely with ground forces are
a large part of the reason the combatant commands requested the B-1 at
the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom and why it continues to be
used today and into the foreseeable future."
The abilities of the B-1 are even more apparent after the latest
six-month deployment of the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron from Dyess
in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Freedom's Sentinel,
and Operation Inherent Resolve. In previous deployments, the bomber
dropped anywhere from less than 100 Joint Direct Attack Munitions to a
high of about 500 JDAMs. During this deployment, though, the 9th BS
released more than 2,000 JDAMs in support of multiple areas of
"Though the threat has evolved over time, it's becoming increasingly
apparent that the B-1 can adapt to those changes," Combs said. "Not only
does its performance in overseas operations demonstrate its lethality
but also its survivability is continually validated in demanding joint
While the declaration of the JASSM-ER to be IOC is the latest
accomplishment in technological advancement for the B-1, it is not the
last advancement the aircraft will experience. As overseas contingency
operations continue, and new threats to U.S. national security emerge,
the long-range strike bomber will serve as a primary platform for
progress due to its ability to adapt to its environment, fight in
conjunction with other aircraft, and accept new weapons easily.
When the nation calls, the B-1 will continue to be the aircraft depended upon to deliver death from above.