of the dynamic targeting skills we've refined over the past decade on
land are directly applicable in the maritime environment," said
Capt. Alicia Datzman, chief of weapons and tactics for the 337th Test
and Evaluations Squadron at Dyess. . "This is the perfect opportunity
to validate and refine these tactics."
During the evaluations, the B-1 dropped a total of six munitions to
include a laser-guided, 500-pound bomb GBU-54, as well as 500 and 2,000-pound
joint direct attack munitions.
"This evaluation solidifies what our crew members have already
known - we can strike surface targets," said Lt. Col. Alejandro
Gomez, 337th special projects officer. "The knowledge we gain from
these events gives combatant commanders assurance that we can be called
upon to complete the mission."
The B-1's role in the tactics development and evaluation exercise was
to detect, target and engage small boats using currently fielded and
available weapons, which were released in all weather conditions.
Gomez said that B-1s are versatile aircraft, capable of protecting important
assets at sea and patrolling allied shipping lanes, because of its speed
and ability to stay in the air longer than most aircraft.
"Future wars might not all be on land, some may include surface
combat, so we are evaluating the way we employ the B-1 to aid in completing
the mission," Gomez said.
With the platform constantly being upgraded and new applications for
the aircraft being discovered regularly, the 337th TES is often called
upon to find new and innovative ways to use the Bomber.
"We are the 911 of the B-1 community," Gomez said. "When
something needs to be adjusted or improved for our aircraft, we are
called upon to find the solution."
Gomez said one of the most useful tools in the 337th TES arsenal is
the TD&E. During a TD&E, data is collected in flight of all
information contributing to the mission. Once completed, the aircrew
examines data from the mission to determine how efficiently they tracked,
engaged and destroyed the target. From there, the 337th TES develops
future tactics, techniques and procedures manuals using the knowledge
With more experience in varying environments, B-1s are becoming increasingly
capable of serving in joint operations with the Air Force's sister branches.
"Success in these sorts of tests gives our sister services confidence
that the B-1 can get the effects they need to meet combatant commander
requirements both over land and sea.With the right assets supporting
us, this platform is unstoppable," Gomez said. "We can't do
it all alone, but by working with others, the B-1 is capable of doing
so much to support our nation."
by Senior Airman Peter Thompson
7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs