First full house of B-1s

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- For the first time, B-1 Bombers from Dyess, Ellsworth and Edwards Air Force Base have been parked on the same ramp at the same time.

The first B-1 Bomber was delivered to Dyess in June 1985. Initial operational capability was achieved on Oct. 1, 1986. The final B-1 was delivered May 2, 1988.

"It was exciting to see all the different unit's B-1 tails on the runway together after the B-1s were transferred from Mountain Home, Robbins and McConnell Air Force Base to Dyess and Ellsworth," said Richard Warner, 7th Bomb Wing Museum Curator and Historian.

Dyess is the hub of the B-1 community operating and maintaining more than half the fleet.

"Dyess is an important hub of the B-1 community," said Col. David Béen, 7th Bomb Wing commander. "We have our own combat deployment squadron, weapons school, and test and evaluation squadron. We train every B-1 crew member who enters the Air Force."

The Dyess flightline has more than enough room to hold the fleet of B-1 Bombers stationed here.

"We have more than enough room to hold an entire airlift group of C-130 Hercules, C-130 J models and two-thirds of the B-1 fleet parked on our ramp at one time," Béen said. "We have plenty of space for new missions if the Air Force decides to bring them to Dyess."

The B-1 combat debut consisted of a mixed fleet of Dyess and Ellsworth jets.

The B-1B was first used in combat in support of operations against Iraq during Operation Desert Fox in December 1998. In 1999, six B-1s were used in Operation Allied Force, delivering more than 20 percent of the total ordnance while flying less than 2 percent of the combat sorties.

The B-1A was initially developed in the 1970s as a replacement for the B-52. Four prototypes of this long-range, high speed (Mach 2.2) strategic bomber were developed and tested in the mid-1970s, but the program was canceled in 1977 before going into production. Flight testing continued through 1981.