Air International 1986-08
??? - Palmdate and the Bomber Connection
The finish adopted for the Rockwell B-1B by the US Air Force is a version of "Europe 1", comprising two tones of grey and one of green in a "wrap-around" camouflage. The tones are difficult to reproduce accurately on the printed page, as will be seen here, owing to tonal changes picked up by the camera with lighting variations. The flying view depict the first B-1B and was taken during the third flight of the aircraft.
The first B-1B undergoing systems check-out at Rockwell's Aircraft Assembly Complex at Palmdale prior to the first flight on 18 October 1984. Rockwell has made a large investment in B-1B production facilities and is now pressing the USAF and the DoD to place contracts for aircraft beyond the 100 so far committed.
Detail view of the wing leading and trailing edge flaps.
Detail view of the underwing engine nacelles and the bogie undercarriage.
The second, third and fourth B-1Bs photographed on the flight line at Dyess AFB, where the training of crews for the first operational squadron continues apace.
Weber A CES ejection seats replaced the crew escape capsule featured by the first three B-1As in the fourth prototype and have been standardised for the B-1B.
Rockwell International B-1B
Among aircraft that have contributed to the development of the B-1B is this Lockheed C-141 StarLifter with the AN/ALQ-161 defensive radar tail warning equipment mounted in the rear fuselage.
Two of the four B-1As have been utilised in the B-1B flight test programme, including aircraft No 2 which is seen here in the original all-white finish, but after modification for its B-1B development task. This aircraft was lost in an accident in August 1984.