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USAF concludes early B-1B retirements

The first of 17 B-1Bs scheduled for early retirement made its way to the boneyard in February. (US Air Force)

The US Air Force (USAF) has concluded the early retirement of some Rockwell B-1B Lancer strategic bomber aircraft that commenced earlier this year.

The Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) announced that the last of 17 aircraft earmarked for early retirement departed Edwards Air Force Base (AFB), California, to fly to the ‘boneyard' at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, on 23 September.

“The 17 B-1B aircraft were retired from a fleet of 62, leaving 45 in the active inventory,” the AFGSC said. “The retirement of the aircraft [does] not affect the service's lethality or any associated maintenance manpower, and allows officials to focus maintenance and depot-level manpower on the remaining aircraft, increasing readiness and paving the way for bomber fleet modernisation to meet future challenges,” it added.

With the USAF commencing the divestiture in February, out of the 17 B-1Bs retired, one aircraft went to Tinker AFB in Oklahoma, to be used as a prototype for structural repair actions; one went to Edwards AFB as a ground tester; one went to Wichita, Kansas, for use by the National Institute for Aviation Research for digital mapping; and one went to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana, to be used as a static display for the Barksdale Global Power museum. The remaining 13 aircraft are being stored at the ‘boneyard' at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan AFB in Type 4000 storage (the oldest and least likely aircraft to be recalled to service), while four will remain in Type 2000 recallable storage.

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