The B-1 bomber, which the Air Force first flew in the 1980s, is long overdue for a replacement. But that won’t come until the B-21 Raider bomber is ready sometime this decade.
As explained in different media, the service is taking various measures to ensure that the B-1Bs remain in flight condition, such as reducing the number of bombers from 62 to 45, and getting rid of 17 airframes.
Boeing produced the last B-1B bomber for the Air Force in 1988, and the fleet has recently suffered from a shortage of parts.
The retired planes are likely to be cannibalized for replacement parts to keep the remaining planes flying.
The Air Force is also conducting structural fatigue tests on wings and airframes. The B-1B was originally designed to fly 8,000 to 10,000 hours, but the average number of hours in the bomber fleet is 12,000 hours.