History of the B1 Bomber at Ellsworth - KOTA Territory News

History of the B1 Bomber at Ellsworth

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It took a while for B1 Bombers to be used to their full capability, but once the aircrafts were, the U.S. military had one of the most accurate and effective weapons in the world.

The first B1 was equipped with nuclear weapons, but they would never be used.

"President Carter canceled the program in the late 70s," said retired Air Force Officer Bob Liebman. 

But this was a period of time that would not last long.  

"By the time the 80's came in President Reagan said hey we need these things," said Liebman. "And so by now it was the B1-B." 

Which was a modified aircraft of the B1-A, fully equipped with conventional weapons and stealth.

But the bombers would not be used to their full capability.

"The primary mission was the strategic nuclear standoff with the Russians during the cold war scenario," said Liebman. "Essentially as a deterrent".  

A standoff that lasted through the Gulf War, until war in the Middle East was imminent.

"Right after 9/11 there were major deployments to include the B1 going and doing the conventional mission," said Liebman. 

Many of the deployments came from Ellsworth Air Force Base,15 years after their arrival.

"The B1-B arrived here at Ellsworth in 1986," said Liebman. "And then they built up to their operational strength and went operational with it in 1987." 

At a price tag of $245 million each, Ellsworth had 30 Bombers

But more costs were shortly on their way.

"In the 90's they did a massive conventional weapons upgrade for the smart weapons and GPS," said Liebman.

Now these military assets cost around $300 million, and they are no longer being manufactured.

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