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US, Japan bomber-fighter integration demonstrates commitment, enhances readiness

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman River Bruce
  • Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

A B-1B Bomber Task Force mission on May 26 included important elements for a complex theater – integration with allies and partners – in support of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and U.S. Strategic Command objectives.

This latest mission involved integration with the Koku Jieitai, or Japanese Air Self-Defense Force.

Two B-1s, deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam from the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, 7th Bomb Wing, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, flew to the Sea of Japan to conduct bilateral training with eight Koku Jieitai F-15s and eight F-2s, before returning to Andersen.

“The U.S. steadfast commitment remains unchanged and integration missions are a way for the U.S. to demonstrate that commitment,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Stallsworth, 9th EBS commander, adding that “missions such as these make us better at integrating global fires and effects in a vast battlespace.”

U.S. and partner aircrews train as they would fight during these integration missions.

“We practice as a team so when it is game-time, we are a well-oiled machine that is ready to win,” said a 9th EBS B-1B pilot. “We’ve been working together on new tactics and procedures, practicing them, and assisting in the development of new ones.”

Four B-1Bs arrived on Guam May 1 with approximately 200 Airmen from Dyess to assist Pacific Air Forces training efforts and strategic deterrence missions to reinforce the rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific region.

“It’s always an honor to show our allies and partners that the U.S. is committed to security in the Indo-Pacific region,” said the B-1 pilot. “While flying BTF missions, we practice integrating through voice and data links to ensure we are a lethal force when employing together.”

In line with the National Defense Strategy’s objectives of strategic predictability and operational unpredictability, the Bomber Task Force enables a mix of different types of strategic bombers to operate forward in the Indo-Pacific region from a broader array of overseas and continental U.S. locations with greater operational resilience.

A Feb. 3 CONUS-to-CONUS BTF with two B-52 Stratofortresses from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, conducted bilateral training near Misawa Air Base, Japan, with 13 JASDF F-2s, four F-4s and 28 F-15s; and six U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 35th Fighter Wing, Misawa AB.

On April 22, another CONUS-to-CONUS BTF mission involved B-1B Lancers from the 37th Bomb Squadron, 28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, who integrated with six U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 35th FW, and seven JASDF F-2s and eight JASDF F-15s over Draughon Range near Misawa for bilateral and theater familiarization training. 

The B-1's can carry Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles, 2,000-pound class Joint Direct Attack Munitions and the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile, giving it an advanced stand-off, counter-ship capability. It also has an advanced self-protection suite and is able to transit at supersonic speeds to enhance offensive and defensive capabilities reassuring allies and aggressively deterring adversaries in the region. 

The BTF provides a persistent, bomber presence not only in the Indo-Pacific theater, but around the globe. USSTRATCOM has conducted BTF missions since 2014, formerly known as Bomber Assurance and Deterrence mission until 2017.