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EB-1B Narsil  

by Bud Sliger

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Silly Week 2007

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B-1B Lancer

ser. 85-0089 "Shard of Narsil"

2nd EB-1B produced

Assigned to the 10th BMW

somewhere over the Artic ocean

Winter 1987

 

 

   The US received a rude awakening during the spring of 1987 when a RC-135 surveillance plane went missing inside the Soviet ADIZ off the coast of the Kamchatka peninsula while investigating a strange radar signal. Over the course of the following months it became clear that the Soviets had constructed a powerful ground-based laser system near the town of Kavaznya.  After the loss of over a billion dollars of hardware, the lives of 13 men & women, and the lack of effectiveness of political negotiations, the President authorized the use of deadly force in neutralizing the laser facility.

 

    From the outset of the mission planning the B-1B was chosen to make the strike.  2 aircraft were pulled from the 10th BMW at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, and were sent to the Air Forceís top secret test facility (known as Dreamland) for modification.  The airframes were stripped to the bare metal and re-skinned with Fibersteel (Carbon steel/fiberglass composite), the APQ-164 radar was modified to be able to guide the AIM-120 Scorpion AAM & AGM-88 HARM, and the intermediate weapons bay was modified to carry two AGM-130 Striker glide bombs.  The aircraft were refinished in an overall anti-glare flat black, with minimum markings.

 

    After being modified at Dreamland, both EB-1s were flown back to Ellsworth AFB for arming for the mission.  Each EB-1 was fitted with a fuel cell in the forward weapons bay, two AGM-130s in the intermediate bay, and a rotary launcher loaded with 6 HARMs in the aft bay. 12 AIM-120 missiles were loaded externally. Each aircraft received a bit of nose art prior to the launch of the mission.

 

   Both aircraft were launched from Ellsworth and flew thru Canada & Alaska to the first refueling point over the Artic Ocean, north of Point Barrow, AK.  Kelly flight had just received the first strike authorization message after being refueled when a Soviet A-50 Mainstay AWACS and 2 MiG-31s intercepted the two EB-1s.  The bombers evaded the MiGs & continued to hold over the Chukchi Sea, while another classified bomber made itís way to the laser facility.

Bud 

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(Story based on 'Flight of the Old Dog' by Dale Brown)

Photos and text © by Bud Sliger

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