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B-1A Ships #1, #3 and #4

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The first B-1A prototype, s/n 74-0158. It's just been towed to its static spot in preparation for the 1984 Edwards AFB Open House. I don't know what's going on with the top of the vertical tail, but it doesn't look right.


74-0158 b-1ctf 6510tw KEDW 19841026 24cr


74-0158 b-1ctf 6510tw KEDW 19841026 33cr


74-0158 b-1ctf 6510tw KEDW 19841026 34cr


Ship No. 4, 76-0174. The spine fairing is part of the development program to improve the offensive and defensive avionics suites for the B-1B.

March 1981. Except when it was on display, it seems this jet was always surrounded by all this support equipment...

74-0160 b-1ctf 6510tw KEDW 19810300 29cr


74-0160 b-1ctf 6510tw KEDW 19810300 26cr


Ship No. 3, 74-0160, September 1981, ready for the open house

74-0160 b-1ctf 6510tw KEDW 19810900 13cr


Parked for static display at the 1983 open house. That's the Anti-Satellite F-15 in the background.

74-0160 b-1ctf 6510tw KEDW 19831029 35cr


Thanks for looking,


Edited by Old Viper Tester
grammar, corrected ship numbers
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Great pics! It's always weird to see pics like these with cars from that era.  My head can't wrap itself around the idea that the B-1 and F-15 was around at the same time as the Chevy LUV and the Chevy Citation. (In the first and last pic)

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  • 2 years later...

Minor correction on the photo captions. The images of the B-1 from March of 1981 are actually of ship #4, not three. The big identifier are the black patches in front of the wings as only #4 had those.  Ship #3 never did. #0174 was also equipped with ejection seats rather than the ejection capsule, so the window frames look a little different. If you look close, the side post angles are different. They sweep forward on the capsule equipped jets while on 0174 they are almost straight up and down (same as on the B-1Bs). Also the ejection capsule equipped B-1s all have a "mohawk" protrusion just above the cockpit.


From what I have been able to find, but ship #3 and ship #4 were given the extended spine and apparently wore it at the same time for awhile. Ship #4 was equipped with it as it was selected along with ship #2 (0159) to take part in the B-1B test program while ships #1 and #3 weren't utilized as much since they were higher time airframes (ship #3 was the second B-1A to fly. Ship #2 took longer to finish since it was used as a static test airframe before it got rebuilt for flight test). Ship #3 eventually got the spine removed. Ship #4 was used in offensive/defensive avionics testing and got the blunted rear cone while Ship #3 kept its pointed B-1A tail cone. 


As for why #0158's tail looks a little different, the fin cap had been removed. The plane as I understand it had ended its flying days. So by that point she was mostly a parked display bird. It is a pity that she never got put in a museum and ended up getting scrapped. Today, Ship #3 which is the only remaining B-1A with the ejection capsule is on display in the Wings over the Rockies museum near Denver, CO. Ship #4 is on outdoor display at the SAC Museum near Ashland, NE. Her elevators have been removed and the paint turned some weird funky shades when she was placed outside, but otherwise she looks pretty good.

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