Aging supersonic plane retrieved from giant aircraft boneyard and set to return to duty

Time for the big bird to take to the skies once again
  • A decommissioned B-1B Lancer bomber has been pulled out of an aircraft boneyard
  • It’s being put back into active-duty service to replace another Lancer damaged in a fire
  • The resurrected aircraft, nicknamed ‘Lancelot,’ was retired to the world’s largest aircraft boneyard three years ago

Published on Apr 16, 2024 at 8:31PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Apr 17, 2024 at 7:26PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Alessandro Renesis
Aging supersonic plane retrieved from giant aircraft boneyard and set to return to duty

A decommissioned supersonic plane that has spent years in a giant aircraft boneyard is set to take to the skies once again.

The resurrected aircraft – a B-1B Lancer bomber nicknamed ‘Lancelot’ – was retired to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base three years ago.

Now it’s being put back into active-duty service to replace another Lancer that was damaged in a fire.

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Davis-Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson, Arizona is the world’s largest aircraft boneyard.

Spanning more than 2,600 acres, ‘The Boneyard’ is home to over 4,000 planes.

There are all kinds of excess military and government aircraft, from planes to jets, helicopters to space shuttles, belonging to the Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and NASA.

Workers at The Boneyard are also preparing dozens of retired F-16 fighter jets to fly again, this time as full-sized ‘drone’ aerial targets piloted by remote control.

The decision to dust off ‘Lancelot’ and put it back into service was made following an April 2022 incident at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas.

Another Lancer caught fire during ‘routine maintenance,’ the base said at that time.

An accident investigation board report said the fire caused nearly $15 million in damage to aircraft.

There’s a congressional mandate to have an operational Lancer fleet of a certain size.

Given the extensive and expensive repairs needed to restore the damaged supersonic plane, Air Force officials instead opted to recommission the retired bomber.

A large team of people has been working to put ‘Lancelot’ back into service.

They got the retired Lancer into a flyable state so it could make it to Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, where it will undergo more repair work.

The B-1B airframe has been in service with the Air Force since the mid-1980s, although the long-range bomber hasn’t been nuclear-capable since 2007.

The fleet consists of around 60 aircraft, divided between Dyess in Texas and Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City, South Dakota.

Each of the bombers is valued at approximately $317 million, according to a service fact sheet.

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