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Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota has begun relocating its B-1B Lancers and personnel to Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.
This temporary move involves an undisclosed number of Lancers and approximately 250 aircrew, maintainers, and support staff. The relocation is in response to a recent B-1B Lancer crash during a training mission at Ellsworth, which resulted in damage to the runway and halted flight operations.
The incident, which took place earlier this month, involved two Lancers on a training exercise. While one aircraft landed successfully, the other crashed during an attempt to land. All four crew members ejected from the aircraft and received medical attention. The crash site is still under investigation, and the damaged aircraft remains unremoved.
Col. Derek Oakley, commander of the 28th Bomb Wing, emphasized the readiness of the B-1 force despite current airfield operations being suspended. “It also reassures our allies and partners that we are steadfast in supporting them when needed and reminds our nation’s adversaries of the capabilities we are able to bring to any fight, anywhere around the globe,” Oakley stated.
The B-1B Lancer has been a key asset in the Air Force since the mid-1980s, with about 60 aircraft currently in service. These bombers, once nuclear-capable but not since 2007, are primarily stationed at Dyess and Ellsworth Air Force Bases. Each bomber is valued at approximately $317 million.
The recent crash is the latest in a series of incidents involving Lancers, including a fire at Dyess in 2022 and a crash in 2013 near Broadus, Montana.