Although the exact subject and creation date of this silent film footage is unclear, we believe it dates to 1972 and shows some aspects of the test program for the Rockwell B-1A strategic bomber and the Tomahawk cruise missile. The B-1A version of this aircraft was developed in the early 1970s, but its production was canceled, and only four prototypes were built. In the 1980s the aircraft was revived as the B-1 Lancer[N 1]. This aircraft is a four-engine supersonic variable-sweep wing, jet-powered heavy strategic bomber. It was first envisioned in the 1960s as a supersonic bomber with Mach 2 speed, and sufficient range and payload to replace the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. It was developed into primarily a low-level penetrator with long range and Mach 1.25 speed capability at high altitude. The B-1B entered service in 1986 with the USAF Strategic Air Command (SAC) as a nuclear bomber.
In the early 1990s, following the Gulf War and concurrent with the disestablishment of SAC and its reassignment to the newly formed Air Combat Command (ACC), the B-1B was converted to conventional bombing use. It first served in combat during Operation Desert Fox in 1998 and again during the NATO action in Kosovo the following year. The B-1B has supported U.S. and NATO military forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Lancer is the supersonic component of the USAF's long-range bomber force, along with the subsonic B-52 and B-2. The bomber is commonly called the "Bone" (originally from "B-One"). With the retirement of the General Dynamics/Grumman EF-111A Raven in 1998 and the Grumman F-14 Tomcat in 2006, the B-1B is the U.S. military's only active variable-sweep wing aircraft. The B-1B is expected to continue to serve into the 2030s, with the Next-Generation Bomber to start supplementing the B-1B in the 2020s.