B-1B Lacner's right canard B-1B Lancer's right and left Canard B-1B Lancer's elevators and canards

These three pictures shows the B-1B Lancer's canards and its elevators. I am not sure to call that feature a canard as the jet also has elevators. In my limited understanding, canard and elevator are substitutes, to use canard or elevator. Then my questions are:

  • What is that feature's name? Is that canard?
  • Is that feature (specific to the B-1B) also controllable like elevators?

Picture source 1 and 2: captured from this Youtube video.
Picture source 3: from here.


1 Answer 1


From Wikipedia:

The Rockwell B-1 Lancer has small canard vanes or fins on either side of the forward fuselage that form part of an active damping system that reduces aerodynamic buffeting during high-speed, low altitude flight. Such buffeting would otherwise cause crew fatigue and reduce airframe life during prolonged flights.

Having a traditional tailplane does not exclude the use of term canard, but it must be admitted that in the case of B-1B the forward control surfaces are so small in relation to other lift or control surfaces that the term "fin" might be more semantically appropriate.

B-1B Canards are moving, but not pilot controlled:

The B-1's Structural Mode Control System rotates the [canard] vanes automatically to counteract turbulence and smooth out the ride.

Wikipedia: Canard (aeronautics)

Wikipedia: Rockwell B-1 Lancer

  • $\begingroup$ Why couldn't they do the buffet suppression with elevators, I wonder? $\endgroup$
    – JZYL
    Commented Sep 7, 2019 at 18:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Just a guess, but as the elevators, or actually stabilators on B-1 are huge, and they control both pitch and roll of the aircraft, the system might have been too slow and/or complicated for the task. Even if the stabilators were able to react quickly enough and it was possible to incorporate the damping system to them, should the damping system fail, it might seriously affect the controllability of the aircraft. $\endgroup$
    – Jpe61
    Commented Sep 7, 2019 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Jpe61, what is this B-1B Canards are moving, but not pilot controlled mean? What is that mean "moving"? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 9:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Well the word "active" kinda hints they do :) $\endgroup$
    – Jpe61
    Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 15:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Oops, I stand corrected @Jimmy. As they have the aforementioned double duty of pitch and roll control, I should have called them tailerons. Definitive source and proof of them not being stab+elev would be pretty much any youtube video showing B-1B taxiing. Such as this: youtu.be/6r3pPFzpzaw $\endgroup$
    – Jpe61
    Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 16:47

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