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The development of the B-1B Lancer bomber was difficult to say the least. Originally conceived to fulfill a USAF requirement for an Advanced Manned Strategic Aircraft, the original B-1A concept aircraft was accused of being a white elephant, capable of performing nothing which could not be achieved at less financial and human expense than an intercontinental ballistic missile. Cancelled by the Carter administration and finally commissioned by President Reagan as the modified B-1B, the Lancer began its duties as a nuclear-armed bomber in the mid-1980s. The end of the Cold War (1946-1991) intervened and the jet was removed from its nuclear missions as a result of arms control legislation. However, the 1990s saw the metamorphosis of the Lancer into a potent conventional weapons carrier which has seen action in Iraq, the Balkans and Afghanistan. The Lancer has proved its critics wrong in demonstrating its use as a highly flexible and hard-working bomber, able to undertake diverse missions ranging from CAS to the targeting of weapons-of-mass-destruction installations.
The B-2A 'Spirit' was an aircraft conceived to fight the Cold War (1946-1991) but which has proved invaluable to both the 'New World Order' and more recently the 'War on Terrorism'. The combination of low-observability, precision strike, range and payload flexibility has made the 'Spirit' the weapon of choice when America hits its enemies at the start of a campaign. Spirits have fired the first shots of Operation 'Allied Force' over Kosovo and Serbia, as well as operations 'Enduring Freedom' (2001-present) and 'Iraqi Freedom' (2003-present). Despite the tremendous cost of the aircraft - each unit is literally worth its weight in gold - the B-2 has had an impact on modern warfare which has vastly exceeded this small force of 21 bombers. Developed in utmost secrecy, the B-2's gestation saw the use of new computer design and manufacturing techniques and ultra-modern synthetic materials making it the most revolutionary aircraft in terms of design and performance. This book examines these incredible aircraft.
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