Lonely B-1B in the big sky
B-1B during a slow pass with extended wings at "Airsho" 2009
The B-1B began service with the USAF Strategic Air Command as a nuclear bomber. In the 1990s, it was converted to conventional bombing use. It was first used in combat during Operation Desert Fox in 1998 and during the NATO action in Kosovo the following year. The B-1B continues to support U.S. and NATO military in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Lancer is the supersonic component of the USAF's long-range bomber force, along with the subsonic B-52 and Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit. The bomber is commonly called the "Bone" (originally from "B-One"). With the retirement of the General Dynamics/Grumman EF-111A Raven in 1998 and the Grumman F-14 Tomcat in 2006, the B-1B is the U.S. military's only active variable-sweep wing aircraft.