What’s this new sensor exposed by video of a B-1 bomber refueling over Iraq?

Although it may seem just another B-1 refueling video, this footage shows something different.

The following footage was shot on Feb. 12, over Iraq.

It shows a B-1B “Lancer” (or “Bone”) taking fuel from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker during a mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

There are several such videos available online but this one caught our attention as it seems to show something different: the B-1, operating from Al Udeid airbase, in Qatar, has at least one new circle-shaped dorsal sensor (most probably an antenna) on the upper fuselage past of the cockpit area.

The same sensor doesn’t seem to be present on B-1s featured by similar footage, perhaps a sign that 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron Bones currently deployed in theater have received some kind of upgrade including the new antenna.

Does anyone have a clue when was the new sensor was installed and, above all, what it is?

Here’s the image that clearly shows the antenna (highlight mine, credit: U.S. Air Force):

34th EBS B-1B refuels over Syria


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.