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Dyess B-1B Lancer: Road to Regeneration

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Emma Anderson
  • 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Starting in October 2023, Dyess and Tinker AFB maintenance teams began to demilitarize a damaged B-1B Lancer at Dyess AFB and subsequently facilitated the regeneration of a B-1B that will join Dyess’ fleet later this year.

On April 20, 2022, an aircraft experienced a catastrophic engine failure and fire while completing a ground engine run. The aircraft had a damaged engine, left wing and multiple fuel lines. The impounded aircraft was released to maintenance after the safety investigation board was complete. 

Following an aircraft wash, maintenance personnel prepared the aircraft to salvage 49 parts valued at over $2.7 million. Personnel transported salvageable parts to squadrons at Dyess AFB for training purposes. The left wing and left nacelle were transported to the 436th Training Squadron crash lab, the only crash lab in Air Combat Command, to support their aircraft mishap investigation course.

The fuselage was recently transported to the National Institute for Aviation Research at Wichita State University in Kansas to facilitate the forward intermediate fuselage super panel prototype. The first B-1B digital twin prototype of the entire aircraft is underway at the NIAR.

“This is an example of our team thriving despite some initial adversity," said Col. Joshua Pope, 7th Maintenance Group commander. "The demilitarization project facilitated proactive inspections and the repair of structural components by personnel, reducing repair costs, timelines, and the impact on aircraft availability, all while upholding fleet safety."

Team Dyess is looking forward to the new arrival to replace the B-1B that was demilitarized. This aircraft recently left the "Boneyard" at Davis-Monthan AFB and landed at Tinker AFB for heavy restoration and maintenance. After numerous inspections and upgrades, the aircraft will join the Dyess fleet later this year.

“The fact that our Air Force can call up an aircraft that has sat dormant for several years and prepare it to support our long-range strike mission, all within a year, is incredible," said Col. Seth Spanier, 7th Bomb Wing commander. "This entire effort speaks to our unwavering commitment to maintaining a combat-credible strike force.”