The only reason the B-1 could do a show of force in Afghanistan, is that the main threat was 12.7mm DsHk, and not much else. Imagining a B-1B orbiting as a gun truck in Syria sounds simply terrifying. Much less in Ukraine. If the Syrians have one thing, be it ISIS or the Syrian Arab Army, it’s heavy caliber guns. And the low observable elements built into the B-1B design can’t protect against the mark 1 eyeball. Several on camera shoot downs of Syrian aircraft are floating around the internet to back up this claim.
One day flying over Afghanistan, sometime in mid-2010, ground troops who were getting shot at requested ISR support (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance). Unfortunately when they requested this show of force, our small Air Force prop plane, the majestic and swan-like MC-12W , was insufficient to strike fear into the hearts of the Taliban through looks alone. Luckily, an Air Force B-1B bomber was flying in the stack with us. It was majestic watching it fly below us, and its silhouette evoked terrifying images in the ancient DNA in my brain. Perhaps having the B-1B bomber overhead helped end the incoming fire the troops were taking without firing a shot. Maybe not.