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):
SATCOM has not been active on B-1s since the early 2000’s. Before the Block D upgrade. It is most likely a new GPS antenna.
(Former 28th Bomb Wing ECM tech here)
Some kind of satellite antenna. It’s also just visible as a bump on top of the cockpit aft of the cockpit windows and forward of the antenna in this B-1 photo from today’s Red Flag post – https://theaviationist.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/B-1-takeoff-roll-RF15-2.jpg
For the GoGo wifi. ;)
I was com/nav on the b1 it used to be the C.R.P.A for satcom and is now the uhf 3 (upgraded satcom) antenna.
It’s an anti-jam Controlled Reception Pattern Antenna (CRPA) for GPS.