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B-1 Lancer Down In Montana

Crew Ejects Safely, Details Are Slim

A B-1B Lancer with the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota went down near Broadus, MT, during a routine training mission Aug. 19, the Air Force said in a statement.

A crew of two pilots and two weapon systems officers were on board. All four members of the aircrew safely ejected with some injuries. 

"We are actively working to ensure the safety of the crew members and have sent first responders to secure the scene and work closely with local authorities at the crash site,” said Col. Kevin Kennedy, the 28th Bomb Wing commander. "Right now all of our thoughts and prayers are with the crews and their families."

Air Force officials will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the accident.

According to the Air Force, The B-1A was initially developed in the 1970s as a replacement for the B-52. Four prototypes of this long-range, high speed (Mach 2.2) strategic bomber were developed and tested in the mid-1970s, but the program was canceled in 1977 before going into production. Flight testing continued through 1981.
 
The B-1B is an improved variant initiated by the Reagan administration in 1981. Major changes included the addition of additional structure to increase payload by 74,000 pounds, an improved radar and reduction of the radar cross section by an order of magnitude. The inlet was extensively modified as part of this RCS reduction, necessitating a reduction in maximum speed to Mach 1.2.
 
The first production B-1 flew in October 1984, and the first B-1B was delivered to Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, in June 1985. Initial operational capability was achieved on Oct. 1, 1986. The final B-1B was delivered May 2, 1988.
 
Additional information will be released as it becomes available.

(USAF file photo)

FMI: www.af.mil

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