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B-1Bs Around the World Nonstop at Mach 0.92: The Legendary 1995 Operation Coronet Bat

Dario Leone
By U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Robert W. Valenca - http://www.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/041008-F-1789V-005.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=140077

Dario Leone

Security, Americas

Who needs bases when your bombers reach everywhere?

B-1Bs Around the World Nonstop at Mach 0.92: The Legendary 1995 Operation Coronet Bat

Over the course of the 36-hour mission, the B-1s took on some 2.5 million pounds (1.13 million kilograms) of fuel, hit all of their designated targets (within 15ft/4.6m at Pachino) and set three world records in the C1.Q (330,000-440,000lb or 149,685-199,581kg) Class.

Curtis LeMay first flew KC-135A 55-3126 to Buenos Aires in November 1957 to demonstrate the operational capability of American airpower in the face of Soviet ICBM potential. For most observers, however, Operation Long Legs was a publicity flight. Some 15 years later, Americans had become jaded by multiple moon-walking missions, the quagmire in Vietnam, and the self-destruction of a president. There was little public interest in notable aviation accomplishments. Military fliers, however, understood the practical applications of record-setting flights and pursued them without expectation of public accolades. In March 1980, for example, two B-52Hs from K I Sawyer AFB, MI, flew around the world non-stop, loitering over the Gulf of Arabia to monitor Soviet naval developments there. Hardly a grandstanding stunt, the flight showed that even without basing rights in a newly anti-American Iran, the United States could still keep tabs on the Soviet presence in the oil rich Straits of Hormuz. Strategic airpower trumped local weakness.

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