Magazine article National Defense

Bombers Will Fly Closer to the Ground in Upcoming Deployment

Magazine article National Defense

Bombers Will Fly Closer to the Ground in Upcoming Deployment

Article excerpt

They've been called the roaming linebackers in the skies above Iraq and Afghanistan. When ground troops need support, the B-1 Lancer drops bombs or thunders overhead at supersonic speeds.

Originally designed to fly intercontinental bombing campaigns in a nuclear showdown, the bomber now is flying alongside its fighter jet brethren conducting close-air support missions. To improve the crews' abilities to see the ground, the aircraft are being upgraded with the Sniper advanced targeting pod.

With infrared sensors, video and laser designation capability, the technology is a vast improvement over the aircraft's current radar, says Lt CoI. Jim Pryor, commander of the 34th Bomb Squadron, based at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.

Crews currently use radar to view the ground in half-mile wide swaths on a 6-inch by 6-inch screen display. A road looks like a dark snaking trench and vehicles appear as bright moving dots, he says. …

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