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FY2021 Proposed Defense Budget Reduces B-1B Fleet in Transition to B-21

Today, Congressman Jodey Arrington (TX-19) released the following statement after the announcement of President Trump’s budget proposal: “Over the past four years, the Trump Administration and House Republicans have worked together to rebuild our nation’s military with an unprecedented investment in our armed services of over $2 trillion. As the voice for the Big Country, I am proud to have fully funded Dyess Air Force Base and it’s priorities, including the design, development, and acquisition of the B-21 bomber. Together we have helped provide our men and women in uniform the tools and resources they need to be safe and successful in carrying out our nation’s most important mission. As a result, our citizens are as safe and our country is as strong as ever before,” said Arrington.  “Now more than ever, our military needs additional combat power to meet the threats identified in the National Defense Strategy and, as a result, both the Air Force and Congress understand the need to accelerate the deployment of the new B-21 Raider as a fundamental part of that mission. Ultimately, Congress is responsible for establishing the budget; therefore, I will be closely reviewing the administration’s recommendation and analyses and working with them to arrive at the right resources and plan for transitioning from the B-1 to the B-21 bomber in a way that ensures the most cost-effective strategy for defending our nation, the highest safety for our airmen, and the least disruption to base operations.” Watch remarks from Congressman Arrington by clicking here. Statement from General Tim Ray, Air Force Global Strike Commander: Dyess and the Abilene community continue to be amazing supporters of our Airmen, our Air Force and our national defense mission. Over the last 35 years, the B-1B Lancer community has continuously reinvented itself as a premiere long-range precision strike platform, and I know that first-hand from when I commanded there.  However, continuous bomber support operations over the last 20 years have taken a toll on the B-1 airframe’s structure due to overuse in a manner not commensurate with its planned design.  Currently a small portion of the B-1Bs, from Dyess and Ellsworth in SD, are in a state that will require tens of millions of dollars per aircraft to get back to a status quo fleet in the short term until the B-21 Raider comes online. Because of this, we’re moving to retire 17 structurally deficient B-1Bs in 2021 so that maintenance dollars and manpower can be focused on the healthiest aircraft in the fleet.  Additionally, in coordination with our contractors, the Program Office, Combatant Command planners and our most advanced weapons’ school Airmen, we have changed various flight employment tactics of the remaining B-1Bs to preserve the longevity of the aircraft. These changes will significantly extend the life of the remaining B-1B fleet and reduce costs associated with potential structural repairs during the transition to the B-21. My goal is that our bases will be bomber bases, not B-1, B-52 or B-21 bases, but bomber bases. Dyess remains an important component to our national defense.