Sixteen months ago, 35 percent of 7th Bomb Wing B-1 bomber sorties never made it off the runway at Dyess AFB, Tex. Sorties that did, lifted off an average of two-and-a-half hours late, prompting a top-to-bottom scrub of 31 key policy areas. “Plain and simple, we weren’t flying enough sorties,” explained Col. Gerald Goodfellow, 7th BW vice commander. “B-1 maintainers were producing the maximum level of sorties they could, but even at our maximum sortie generation, their output wasn’t meeting the requirement.” Switching aircraft from two sorties per day to a single sortie cut time wasted in minor maintenance, and scrubbing sorties delayed by more than two hours keeps later sorties from being postponed. “For the first time that I can remember, we are flying 100 percent of the sorties contracted,” summed Col. David Béen, 7th BW commander. (Dyess report by A1C Charles Rivezzo)
More than 100 B-21s will be needed if the nation is to avoid creating a high demand/low capacity capability, panelists said on a Hudson Institute webinar. The B-21's flexibility, stealth, range and payload will be in high demand for a wide range of missions, both traditional and new.