Archive for June 9, 2011




The Rockwell B-1 Lancer is a four-engine, variable-sweep wing strategic bomber used by the United States Air Force (USAF). First envisioned in the 1960s as a supersonic bomber with sufficient range and payload to replace the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, it developed primarily into a low-level penetrator with long range and supersonic speed capability.

Designed by Rockwell International, the bomber’s development was delayed multiple times over its history, as the theory of strategic balance changed from flexible response to mutually assured destruction and back again. The initial B-1A version was developed in the early 1970s, but its production was canceled and only four prototypes were built. In 1980, the B-1 resurfaced as the B-1B version with the focus on low-level penetration bombing. The B-1B entered service with the USAF in 1986. It began service with the USAF Strategic Air Command as a nuclear bomber.

In the 1990s, the B-1B was converted to conventional bombing use. It was first used in combat during Operation Desert Fox in 1998 and during the NATO action in Kosovo the following year. The B-1B continues to support U.S. and NATO military forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Lancer is the supersonic component of the USAF’s long-range bomber force, along with the subsonic B-52 and Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit. The bomber is commonly called the “Bone” (originally from “B-One”). With the retirement of the General Dynamics/Grumman EF-111A Raven in 1998 and the Grumman F-14 Tomcat in 2006, the B-1B is the U.S. military’s only active variable-sweep wing aircraft. The B-1B is expected to continue to serve into the 2020s, when it is to supplemented by the Next Generation Bomber.




The General Electric GAU-8/A Avenger is a 30 mm, hydraulically-driven seven-barrel Gatling-type rotary cannon that is mounted on the United States Air Force’s Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II. It is among the largest, heaviest and most powerful aircraft cannons in the United States military. Designed specifically for the anti-tank role, the Avenger delivers very powerful rounds at a high rate of fire.


The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is a supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, variable-sweep wing fighter aircraft. The Tomcat was developed for United States Navy’s Naval Fighter Experimental (VFX) program following the collapse of the F-111B project. The F-14 was the first of the American teen-series fighters which were designed incorporating the experience of air combat against MiGs during the Vietnam War.

The F-14 first flew in December 1970. It first deployed in 1974 with the U.S. Navy aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65), replacing the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II. The F-14 served as the U.S. Navy’s primary maritime air superiority fighter, fleet defense interceptor and tactical reconnaissance platform. In the 1990s it added the Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) pod system and began performing precision strike missions. The F-14 was retired from the active U.S. Navy fleet on 22 September 2006, having been replaced by the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. As of 2009, the F-14 was only in service with the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force, having been exported to Iran in 1976 when the US had amicable diplomatic relations with the nation.