USAFE News Service
19 August 2005
UNS05262: America's B-1B Lancer takes to Russian skies
Master Sgt. Mona Ferrell
USAFE News Service
ZHUKOVSKY, Russia (USAFENS) -- Because of its ability to rapidly deliver
massive quantities of weapons against any adversary in the world, the
capabilities of America's B-1B Lancer may have once been feared by the
former Soviet Union during the Cold War.
Now it's making history by demonstrating its capabilities during the Moscow
International Air Show and Space Salon held Aug. 16-21 at Ramenskoye
The backbone of America's long-range bomber force is conducting daily
maneuvers through Russian skies at supersonic speed and the aircraft and
its advanced weapons system is being intercepted with excitement by both
Americans and Russians alike.
"It's an honor to fly the first B-1s into Russia," said Capt. Steve
Jones, one of the B-1B pilots here from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D.
"We're all humbled that the Russians invited us to the air show and are
allowing us to participate."
The Lancer was initially developed in the 1970s as a replacement for the
B-52, an aircraft designed to deliver nuclear bombs into the former
Soviet Union during the Cold War.
Demonstrating the B-1B's capabilities in front of a daily crowd of
hundreds of thousands is a symbol of the friendship and international
cooperation between the United States and our once-adversary, said
"I think it shows how much progress our two nations have made since the
Cold War," he said. "The fact the United States would bring one of its
strategic bombers into this country and that the Russians will allow us
to not only display the aircraft, but that we're able to fly it
here...it shows how diffused the whole Cold War has really become."
The finality of the Cold War is even more apparent when you look at the
static displays, said the captain.
"We're parked approximately 300 feet from Russian weapons systems, some
of which were designed primarily to shoot this aircraft down, and here
we are parked right next to them at their air show," he said. "It's
Both the aircraft and the U.S. military members are being well received,
said Capt. Ryan Sweeney, weapons systems officer for the aircraft.
"The Russians have been very accommodating and welcoming," he said.
"After flying our profile here and landing, they thanked us for our
demonstration. The mayor of Moscow also formally thanked us and
presented us with a token of appreciation for our participation. It's
obvious that they want us to feel welcome and we definitely do."
With the appreciation comes an inquisitiveness about the aircraft's
strength, said Capt. David Black, 34th Aircraft Maintenance Unit officer
in charge of overseeing the B-1B'st maintenance.
"With it's capability to go more than 900 miles per hour, the Lancer is
considered to be one of the premier fly over jets; it represents
American horsepower and makes the most noise," Captain Black said.
"People seem to be very curious about it. They want us to tell them the
difference between our aircraft and their bomber."
Although the B-1B and its crew normally averages about 14 or 15 air
shows a year, it doesn't make their participation in this year's Moscow
show any less exciting, said Captain Black.
"We couldn't have been more warmly accepted," the captain continued.
"It's just a great honor and it's amazing to be here in Russia. I didn't
think we'd ever be doing this in our life time.
This is the second time the United States has displayed military
aircraft at the air show; the first time was in 2003. In 2001 the
Department of Defense participated with a technology booth.
Other American aircraft showcased during the Moscow air show include the
F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16C Fighting Falcon, KC-10 Extender, KC-135
Who'd have thunk it 20 years ago. It's hard to even remember what it was like back then, things are changing in this world so quickly.
Thats pretty cool. If nothing else, it shows some Nobility, something our current adversaires lack.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Considering the 'alliance" I see forming between Russia and China, I don't think we oughta start feeling too rosy about them just yet.
Damned shame the Russians did'nt save some TU-4s,sure would have helped the folks in Midland TX.
They are evaluating their capabilities.
I'm sure they are holding all kinds of clandestine "excercises".