The Supersonic BONE

A Development and Operational History of the B-1 Bomber

Kenneth Katz

This superbly researched and illustrated book traces the BONE's long development and operational history in fascinating detail.
Date Published :
March 2022
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
300 color illustrations
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781399014717
Pages : 392
Dimensions : 9.6 X 6.7 inches
Stock Status : Out of stock
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When the B-52 Stratofortress entered operational service with the US Air Force in 1955, work was already underway on defining its successor. The B-70 Valkyrie, a Mach 3 jet bomber, was one option. Although two XB-70A prototypes flew, the B-70 never went into production. Out of the subsequent Advanced Manned Strategic Aircraft program came the B-1A bomber, which flew at high speed and low altitude to evade enemy air defenses. The B-1A was canceled in favor of fitting the B-52 with cruise missiles. The B-1, known as the BONE, was revived in 1981 as the improved B-1B to boost American military power and be a symbol of American strength at the peak of Cold War tensions. The B-1B entered service in 1986 with several deficiencies. The resolution of most of these issues coincided with the end of the Cold War.

After the Cold War, the B-1B lost its primary nuclear mission but remained relevant by transforming into a high-speed, long-range, high-payload delivery platform for conventional precision-guided munitions. The first combat use of the B-1B was in 1998 in Iraq. The BONE has proved a highly effective combat aircraft in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and the former Yugoslavia.

This superbly researched and illustrated book traces the BONE’s long development and operational history in fascinating detail.

About The Author

Educated in aerospace engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan, KENNETH P. KATZ has over three decades of experience as an US Air Force officer, flight test engineer, and project manager. He is currently employed as a staff project engineer for a major aerospace contractor. Katz has a commercial pilot certificate with instrument rating, flight experience as an observer and crewmember in over 20 types of military aircraft and is a Senior Member of the Society of Flight Test Engineers. He is the author of three patents, several conference papers, and two previous books about the subject of modern military aircraft. Katz currently lives in Connecticut in the United States.


"Every once in a while, we come across a must-read book. This is one of them. It is a great reference for historians, pilots, engineers, and even policy makers. Both the writing and photos are excellent."

- Air & Space Power History

"A fascinating account of the extraordinary successor to the B-52 Stratofortress bomber, the B-1."

- Books Monthly

"...the high number of high quality images should allow the modeller to find good quality images of any specific detail being sought."

- Aeroscale

"This is a well-written, immaculately researched book. In hardback, it will grace military libraries for decades to come, and on Kindle, it will interest a wide range of aviation, capability development and US military enthusiasts."

- Army Rumour Service

"This superbly researched and illustrated book traces the BONE’s long development and operational history in fascinating detail."

- Scale Modeling Now

"The author is to be commended for the logical and detailed format of the book. The extent of his research is quite evident and it is simply a book you cannot put down. It has the perfect mix of technical descriptions with personal accounts that combine to make it an enjoyable read."

- Aviation Enthusiast Book Club

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