Murphy's Law: The Bone Does Bad Better

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May 2,2008: Although the B-52 is cheaper to operate, ground troops prefer to have a B-1B overhead. That's because the B-1B, nicknamed "the Bone", does intimidation more effectively than the B-52. That is, when the troops call for intimidation, they are asking for an air force aircraft to make a high-speed, very low altitude pass over an enemy position. This will often encourage an already shaken enemy to surrender. Live prisoners, especially well intimidated ones, provide useful information. Smart bombs rarely leave survivors. The B-1B is superb at these intimidation flybys (which usually include dispersal of some flares, which also protects against any surface-to-air missiles.) The B-52 can also come low, but air force brass don't allow it (and it's not nearly as impressive as the B-1B at it anyway.)

The B-1B can also carry more fuel, and stay in the air longer, without needed the assistance of an aerial tanker. This makes the bean-counters and logisticians happy.

 


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