A B-1 Lancer bomber from Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota encountered an unfortunate incident on Thursday, leading to a crash during a training mission. Fortunately, all four crew members successfully ejected, as confirmed by the U.S. Air Force.
The crash occurred at approximately 5:50 p.m. local time, reported the base. The crew was engaged in routine training activities at the time of the incident, according to the latest statements released by Ellsworth Air Force Base on Thursday night.
Weather conditions during the crash were challenging, marked by poor visibility, freezing temperatures, and low clouds, as indicated by automated weather reporting systems that monitor airfield conditions.
The B-1B Lancer, an iconic aircraft synonymous with the latter stages of the Cold War, was initially conceived as a strategic nuclear bomber, designed to operate at low altitudes to evade Soviet early warning radar systems. Since the Cold War’s end, the B-1B Lancer has been modified for carrying conventional munitions and extensively deployed in close air support and tactical bombing missions.
Recognized for its capacity to transport the Air Force’s largest array of guided and unguided weapons, this versatile aircraft serves as the cornerstone of America’s long-range bomber fleet. Capable of swiftly deploying significant quantities of both precision and non-precision weapons globally, the multi-mission B-1 remains an essential asset.
Introduced in the 1980s, the B-1 is a conventional supersonic bomber that has contributed to the U.S. bomber presence in the Asia-Pacific region and played vital roles in providing close air support during U.S. operations in Afghanistan. It’s important to note that this aircraft does not carry nuclear armaments.
Although originally 100 were manufactured, fewer than 60 are presently operational, stationed at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas and Ellsworth Air Force Base.