U.S. Air Force B-1B Bombers Conduct Training Mission Over East China Sea for Second Time This Week

A pair of U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer supersonic strategic bombers conducted a training mission over the East China Sea for the second time this week, the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) announced.

The bombers, assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron (9 EBS), took off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam for the mission over the strategic waters on May 6. The jets were supported by a KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling aircraft from the Ohio Air National Guard’s 166th Aerial Refueling Squadron (166 ARS).

The PACAF said in a statement that the mission is part of a Bomber Task Force (BTF) “supporting Pacific Air Forces’ strategic deterrence missions and commitment to the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific region”.

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer strategic bomber, assigned to 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, flies over the East China Sea on May 6, 2020, during a training mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman River Bruce)

This is the second East China Sea mission conducted by the USAF B-1B bombers, popularly known as BONE (B-ONE). On May 4, a pair of bombers conducted a training mission over the area.

The U.S. Air Force has recently deployed four B-1B bombers and approximately 200 Airmen from the 9th Bomb Squadron, 7th Bomb Wing based at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, to Andersen Air Base, Guam to conduct bomber task force (BTF) operations.

According to the Air Force, the bombers “were deployed to support Pacific Air Forces’ (PACAF) training efforts with allies, partners and joint forces; and strategic deterrence missions to reinforce the rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific region”.

The last time the B-1s were deployed to the region was in 2017. Bombers from the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron supported missions from Andersen AFB, conducting multiple sequenced bilateral missions with the Republic of Korea Air Force and the Japan Air Self Defense Force.

The B-1 can carry the largest conventional payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the U.S. Air Force.

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