Air Force Bombers:
Conventional Capabilities of the B-1B Bomber
T-NSIAD-94-169, May 4, 1994
GAO discussed the conventional capabilities of the B-1B bomber, focusing on the: (1) B-1B force structure; (2) Conventional Mission Upgrade Program; (3) status of some of the bomber's reported operational problems; and (4) congressionally mandated 6-month operational readiness assessment. GAO noted that: (1) the number of B-1B bombers, as well as B-52 bombers, is being reduced significantly; (2) the reduced bomber force will not be able to destroy the target base that the Air Force expects the combined B-1B and B-52 force to destroy in the first 5 days of war; (3) the Air Force plans to add precision guided munitions, enhance B-1B capabilities through the Conventional Mission Upgrade Program, and bring back some of the reserve aircraft to the combat ready force; (4) the Conventional Mission Upgrade Program is encountering delays and cost increases; (5) the B-1B has experienced operational problems, such as engine and aircraft availability and structural cracking, that have limited its use; and (6) it will be monitoring and reporting on the congressionally mandated B-1B operational readiness assessment.