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The Air Force has just 7 B-1B Lancer bombers ready for war. It's supposed to have 10 times as many
The Air Force's B-1B Lancer long-range bomber is supposed to be one of three critical strategic bombers in the Pentagon's inventory. At the moment, however, the Air Force's Lancer fleet is an embarrassing mess.
During the Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing for Gen. John Hyten on Tuesday, Sen. Mike Rounds (R-Sd.) stated that of the Air Force's fleet of 61 Lancers, only six are full mission-capable, with 39 down for inspections and an additional 15 in depot maintenance
When reached for comment, Air Force Global Strike Command told Task & Purpose that more recent data showed only 7 B-1Bs as fully mission-capable. That additional bomber still leaves the Air Force's B-1B fleet at a dismal 11% readiness rate.
The reason for this disrepair is simple, Hyten said on Tuesday: the B-1B is overextended and under-maintained.
"We were just beating the heck out of them, deploying them, deploying them," Hyten told lawmakers in a plea to authorize additional B-1B maintenance funding. "We had to pull back a little and get after fixing those issues. The depots can do that if they have stable funding."
A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer assigned to the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. to Andersen AFB, Guam, flies a training mission over the Pacific Ocean Aug. 16, 2017 (U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Joshua Smoot)
Indeed, Hyten's assessment echoes that of AFGSC commander Gen. Timothy Ray, who told a group of reporters in Washington, D.C. this past April that the Air Force had "overextended" the fleet in the U.S. Central Command area of operations over the last decade.
"Normally, you would commit — [with] any bomber or any modern combat aircraft — about 40 percent of the airplanes in your possession as a force, [not including those] in depot," Ray explained at the time. "We were probably approaching the 65 to 70 percent commit rate [for] well over a decade."
"The wear and tear on the crews, the maintainers, and certainly the airplane, that was my cause for asking for us to get out of the CENTCOM fight," he added.
The precipitous drop in readiness is alarming to say the least. As Air Force Times previously reported, the Air Force's most recent batch of aviation readiness data from fiscal year 2017 showed a 52.8% mission-capable rate for the B-1b, with 32 or 33 bombers ready for action at a given moment.
But ever since B-1Bs returned to the Middle East in April 2018 for the first time in nearly two-and-a-half years to take over strike missions from the B-52 Stratofortress, the airframe has experienced two fleet-wide groundings, one in June 2018 and the other in March 2019, due to ejection seat issues.
While AFGSC told Air Force Times in June that an "extensive engineering review" of the entire B-1B fleet is current underway, getting those back in the air can't happen soon enough. In it's markup of the fiscal year 2020 defense budget, the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee explicitly recognized that the Pentagon's long-range strike capabilities "may be placed at increased risk by aging structural problems" with the B-1B. That's bad news for the Pentagon — and good news for everyone else.
Editor's Note: This article by Hope Hodge Seck originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.
In the wake of a heartwarming viral video that was featured everywhere from Good Morning America to the Daily Mail comes a disheartening revelation: The 84-year-old self-described Army nurse cranking out push-ups in her crisp Vietnam-era uniform might not be who she said she was.
Maggie DeSanti, allegedly a retired Army lieutenant colonel who rappeled out of helicopters in Vietnam, was captured in a video challenging a TSA agent to a push-up competition ahead of a flight to Washington, D.C., with the Arizona chapter of the organization Honor Flight on Oct. 16. The video soon was everywhere, and many who shared it, including Honor Flight, hailed DeSanti's toughness and spirit.
‘Nice girls don't join the military': New commander of Air Force refueling squadron proves her critics wrong
The summer before sixth grade, Cindy Dawson went to an air show with her father and was enamored by the flight maneuvers the pilots performed.
"I just thought that would be the coolest thing that anybody could ever do," she said, especially having already heard stories about her grandfather flying bombers during World War II with the Army Air Corps.
So by the first day of school, she had already decided what she wanted to be when she grew up.
We salute the 93-year-old WWII veteran who refuses to retire, and opened up a 'boozy bakery' instead
Peach schnapps, sex on the beach, and piña colada may be familiar drinks to anyone who's spent an afternoon (or a whole day) getting plastered on an ocean-side boardwalk, but they're also specialty desserts at Ray's Boozy Cupcakes, Etc, a bakery in Voorhees, New Jersey run by a 93-year-old World War II veteran named Ray Boutwell.
A former senior Coast Guard official has been accused of shoplifting from a Philadelphia sex shop.
Rear Adm. Francis "Stash" Pelkowski (Ret.) was accused of stealing a tester item from Kink Shoppe on Oct. 8, according to an Instagram post by the store that appeared online two days later. In the post, which included apparent security camera footage of the incident, a man can be seen looking at products on a counter before picking up an item and placing it in his pocket before turning and walking away.
The Instagram post identified the man as Pelkowski, and said it wished him "all the best in his retirement, a sincere thank you for your service, and extreme and utter disappointment in his personal morals."
SAN DIEGO —The Marines say changes in the way they train recruits and their notoriously hard-nosed drill instructors have led to fewer incidents of drill instructor misconduct, officials told the Union-Tribune.
Their statement about training followed an Oct. 5 Washington Post report revealing that more than 20 Marines at the San Diego boot camp have been disciplined for misconduct since 2017, including cases of physical attacks and racist and homophobic slurs. The story also was published in the Union-Tribune.