B-1s launched from Guam conduct mission in disputed South China Sea

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U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancers fly by the USS Ronald Reagan 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. (Courtesy Photo by U.S. Navy)

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.

“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.

“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 at Andersen AFB July 17 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. (By 2nd Lt. Joshua Sinclair, Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs )

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