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9th EBS showcases ACE during Agile Condor; first time bombers land in Arctic

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Colin Hollowell
  • 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron Public Affairs

A B-1B Lancer and aircrew assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron took off from Ørland Air Force Station, Norway, to conduct a Bomber Task Force Europe training mission, Agile Condor, March 8, 2021.

Agile Condor marks the first time that a U.S. bomber has landed in the Arctic Circle.

The B-1 operators flew to Bodø AFS, Norway, marking the first time that bombers have landed in the Arctic where aircraft maintainers with the 9th EBS conducted a warm-pit refueling.

“A warm-pit is a refueling operation where the aircraft engines are shut down while the auxiliary power units remain on without the aircrew exiting the jet,” said the 9th EBS maintenance lead at Bodø AFS. “This is done to reduce the time that the aircraft is on the ground and allows us to get the jet airborne faster.”

The time saved through warm-pit refueling improves the efficiency of B-1 operations.

“We are making our operations less predictable,” said the BTF project officer. “Warm-pits do not require extensive advanced coordination, allowing us to land at any airfield with a long enough runway, reload, and get back in the air as fast as possible.”

Training missions such as Agile Condor demonstrate the 9th EBS’ ability to perform operations in an unpredictable manner from unfamiliar locations.

This concept is referred to as Agile Combat Employment. For ACE missions and exercises, bomber aircraft will deploy and operate out of locations that are not familiar with a bomber presence.

“If the adversary does not know what bases we will be operating from, they will not be able to target bomber bases in advance,” said the project officer. “Utilizing ACE makes us unpredictable, giving us the strategic edge to forward deploy to any airfield at any time.”