Friday, May 18, 2018

The B-1B bomber could become a close air support gunship with a proposed cannon upgrade

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The B-1B bomber could become a close air support gunship with a proposed cannon upgrade

B 1 takeoff RF15 2Todd Miller

The B-1B Lancer bomber already carries more weapons than any of its counterparts. But officials are exploring the possibility of adding a cannon to its arsenal. Experts say the proposed enhancement may be speaking to what troops on the ground really want: air support with eyes on the target. But operating the Lancer costs $82,777 per flight hour, according to published 2016 operational costs for the aircraft, so it might not be practical for a job that the A-10 Warthog can do cheaply. 

The B-1B Lancer bomber already carries more weapons than any of its counterparts. But officials are exploring the possibility of adding a cannon to its arsenal.

Boeing Co. has been granted a patent for a cannon that could enhance the aircraft's ability to take on more close-air support roles. The patent, U.S. 9,963,231 B2, shows various mounts for the gun, which would retract into the aircraft's belly.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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