Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen has ordered five B-1B Lancer bombers to Europe to plus up the U.S. contribution to NATO's OPERATION ALLIED FORCE. The planes will depart Ellsworth AFB, S.D., and be ready for air operations no later than April 1.
Secretary Cohen approved a request from U.S. European Command Commander in Chief Gen. Wesley K. Clark for the additional assets to prosecute the air campaign over the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
The B-1B is an all-weather, long-range strategic bomber capable of flying intercontinental missions without refueling. The aircraft can fly at Mach 1.2 at sea level and carry up to 84 Mark-82 conventional 500-pound bombs as well as 30 anti-armor/artillery Cluster Bomb Unit (CBU) munitions.
In addition to the B1-Bs, four B-52H Stratofortress bombers are moving from Minot AFB, N.D., to RAF Fairford in Great Britain. These B-52Hs, which are scheduled to arrive today, will replace some of the eight B-52Hs already at RAF Fairford, which will return to the United States. The B-52H model is specially designed to fire Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missiles (CALCMs). The B-52H can carry up to 20 CALCMs, six under each wing and eight internally.