The U.S. Air Force has just retired its first Boeing (Rockwell) B-1B from service, joining the vast Davis-Monthan AFB open-air storage facility where the four-engine aircraft will be cocooned and used as a spare parts bank.
Cocooned at Davis Monthan AFB in Arizona
The first of the 17 B-1B bombers to be retired this year made its final flight, landing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona. The four-engine aircraft was handed over to the 309th Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Group. The former Rockwell B-1B will be preserved intact, but will be covered with protective coatings, known as cocooning, until it is likely to be cannibalized, i.e. used for spare parts. Thus, the glass surfaces and air inlets of the device will be covered with a protective coating while the device will be stored in the open air. Like hundreds of others, over km2 and km2.
Making room for the B-21
Registered 85-0066, this B-1B will make way for the new B-21 bomber. Eventually, 45 B-1s will still be flying. Due to the wear and tear of the B-1 fleet over the past two decades, the maintenance of these bombers would cost tens of millions of dollars per aircraft. The first B-1 sent to Davis-Monthan AFB was nearly scrapped in 2005, following fire damage when it landed at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. The fire resulted in a $32 million bill with replacement of a wing, engine nacelle and landing gear.
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