How the Air Force Transformed the B-1 from a Nuclear Bomber to an ISIS Killer

Huge yet surprisingly sleek and agile, the U.S. Air Force?s B-1 Lancer strategic bombers?popularly dubbed ?Bones? for B-ONE?circles over battlefields in Syria and Afghanistan like angels of death dispensing GPS-guided bombs from on high. Yet the B-1 started out as an over-priced nuclear bomber that was arguably obsolete by the time it entered service. Thus, a bomber designed to dodge Soviet surface-to-air missiles and interceptors found its niche battling Taliban and ISIS insurgents.

During the 1940s and 1950s, the U.S. military sought to push its bombers to ever higher altitudes and faster speeds to protect them from flak guns and fighter planes?pushing new performance envelopes with the pressurized B-29 , and later the B-47 and B-52 Stratofortress strategic jet bombers.