Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Aerospace, Physics, and Space Sciences

First Advisor

Brian A. Kish

Second Advisor

Ralph D. Kimberlin

Third Advisor

Isaac Silver

Fourth Advisor

David C. Fleming


The purpose of this test was to perform a Developmental Phase IIA evaluation of the B-1B Lancer for the land-based, long-range, all-weather ground attack mission. One two-hour ground evaluation, one simulator and one flight totaling 7.5 hours was conducted under daylight, visual meteorological conditions from Dyess Air Force Base (AFB) in Abilene, Texas (337th Test and Evaluation Squadron). All test objectives were completed except the low altitude flight evaluation, landing pattern operations, and AFCS operations due to weather, maintenance and time constraints. The test aircraft was representative of a production B-1B aircraft and included a Sniper Targeting Pod and a AN/APQ-164 Radar to allow for targeting and ground mapping as well as a AN/ALQ-161A Radio Frequency Surveillance/Electronic Countermeasures System for electronic warfare and self-protection. The tests were conducted with two pilots, two Weapon System Operators, and a test weight ranging from 324,000 to 235,000lb gross weight. The center of gravity (CG) varied from 14 to 34% mean aerodynamic chord (MAC) and the wing sweep ranged from 20 to 67.5° aft during the tests. The B-1B aircraft was generally satisfactory during performance and handling qualities maneuvers, however, its defensive maneuvering was overall sluggish and exhibited poor performance. The deficient flying qualities were primarily within the high airspeed, swept wing rolling and pulling maneuvers. The aircraft could capture a precise angle of bank (AOB), but rolled slowly and had very heavy lateral forces. Despite the satisfactory standoff capability of the Sniper Pod and radar, when actually encountering a threat the defensive suite could not identify it correctly. Normal accelerations were easy to capture but heavy to hold for extended periods of time during defenses. While the excess power was exceptional in maximum afterburner (enhancing), the slow turn performance will not adequately get the aircraft to safe parameters quickly and is a part I deficiency. The aircraft’s level flight performance was adequate for the ferry mission (6,504NM range) and LO-LO-LO-HI (1,913NM combat radius) mission flight profile that included 30,000lb of ordnance. Those ranges will allow the aircraft nearly global reach, but aircraft’s large takeoff distance will limit the number of airfields that it can be forward deployed to. The aircraft’s exceptional climb rate in MAX will allow it to climb quickly to a safe altitude while deployed, and its control cues to airspeed changes will keep the pilot from getting near a stall or out of control flight regime. The aircraft exhibited satisfactory performance during mission maneuvers and was quickly and easily able to program a weapon to navigate to a precise weapon release location. The neutral stability will allow for maximum hands off the controls time so the pilot can setup a system while loitering or before an instrument approach. Once entering a target area, the general purpose, low altitude bombing and high-altitude precision weapon navigation cues will allow the aircraft to be accurately flown to a release point. All flying qualities in the powered approach configuration, with the exception of heading oscillations along with overly sensitive lateral control forces, were satisfactory. In all, 1 Part I deficiency, 9 Part II deficiencies, 13 Part III deficiencies and 2 enhancing characteristics were identified. Overall, the B-1B aircraft demonstrated limited potential for the land-based, long range, all-weather ground attack mission.


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