B-1s Conduct Bomber Task Force Mission in South China Sea

U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancers fly by the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group in the Philippine Sea during a Bomber Task Force mission, July 21, 2020. Strategic bomber missions contribute to the joint lethality and readiness of the U.S. Air Force and its allies and partners throughout the Indo-Pacific region. (Navy photograph)

A pair of B-1B Lancers launched from Andersen AFB to conduct a long-range strategic Bomber Task Force mission in the South China Sea on July 21, 2020.

During the flight, the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron conducted a maritime integration operation with the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group in the Philippine Sea. The B-1 and its crews demonstrated the U.S. commitment to the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific, while also displaying the ability to rapidly deploy to a forward operating location and sustain operations whenever called upon.

The non-stop mission – made possible with support from KC-135s from the 506th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, and the dedication of 37th Aircraft Maintenance Unit – took the B-1s to the South China Sea and allowed the bomber to fly for 14 consecutive hours.

A 28th Bomb Wing B-1B Lancer, deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., takes off from Andersen AFB, Guam, prior to a Bomber Task Force mission in the South China Sea, July 21, 2020. Carrying the largest conventional payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the Air Force inventory, the multi-mission B-1 is the backbone of America’s long-range bomber force. The Department of Defense maintains command and control of its bomber force for any mission, anywhere in the world, at any time. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Christina Bennett)

“The BTF construct provides the flexibility for our bombers to operate in any area of responsibility and enhances our readiness,” said Lt. Col. Lincoln Coleman, Commander of the 37th EBS. “It gives us the ability to project air power across the globe.”

U.S. Strategic Command routinely conducts BTF operations across the globe as a demonstration of U.S. commitment to collective defense and to integrate with Geographic Combatant Command operations and activities.

Coleman noted these missions provide B-1 aircrews the opportunity to train with allies and partner nations they may work with in future operations.

Aircrew, assigned to the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, prepare to board a B-1B Lancer at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, prior to a Bomber Task Force mission in the South China Sea, July 21, 2020. Long range, long duration missions demonstrate the U.S. Air Force’s unwavering commitment to our allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region. (Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Christina Bennett)

“These missions strengthen our partnerships and increases our interoperability with a wide variety of military assets,” Coleman said. “Not only throughout the Department of Defense, but also with our allies across the globe.”

The Airmen from Ellsworth AFB, S.D., arrived in Andersen AFB July 17, 2020, to conduct BTF missions in the Indo-Pacific.

Before arriving in Guam, the B-1s conducted bilateral intercept training with Koku-Jieitai, or Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), F-15Js over the Sea of Japan to enhance bilateral readiness and interoperability.

The B-1 serves as the backbone of America’s long-range bomber force. The bomber has the ability to rapidly deliver massive quantities of precision and non-precision weapons against any adversary, anywhere in the world, at any time.

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