The U.S. Air Force Rockwell B-1 Lancer is a bomber like no other.
The B-1 is one of only three classes of the Air Force’s long-range strategic heavy bombers as of 2017, along with the B-2 Spirit “Stealth Bomber” and the B-52 Stratofortress.
Unlike the other two, however, the B-1 does not carry nuclear weapons.
Given this fact, the Air Force treats the Lancer as a workhorse, and regularly sent the supersonic variable-sweep-wing bomber on intensive missions over Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya for more than a decade.
According to some estimates based on numbers released by the U.S. Strategic Command, during the Lancers’ most recent combat missions until February 2016, the bombers have dropped more than 3,800 munitions on the Islamic State (ISIS) during a six-month deployment.
For an aircraft created as an interim between the subsonic B-52 and the Stealth Bomber B-2 Spirit, and subsequently converted to conventional bombing use, the B-1B Lancer is a truly workhorse and an invaluable asset.