The Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) is preparing to mount hypersonic AGM-183 Air-launched Rapid Response Weapons (ARRW) externally on the Rockwell B-1 Lancer supersonic bomber.
AFGSC chief Gen. Timothy Ray told Air Force Magazine, in an interview that will appear in the May issue, that the Air Force has already retired 17 B-1 airframes from the fleet. The remaining B-1s will likely be modernized, some with the ability to carry hypersonic missiles, Ray added.
“My goal would be to bring on at least a squadron’s worth of airplanes modified with external pylons on the B-1, to carry the ARRW hypersonic cruise missile,” he said.
He said some B-1s “will need significant structural work” to prepare them to air-launch hypersonic missiles. “We can do smart things, and we’ve got support from Congress to do this. This is a thing that we’re working to get ourselves through. We’ve had a very good dialog,” he added.