U.S. Air Force B-1B Bombers Conducts South China Sea Mission

The U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer supersonic strategic bombers conducted a mission in the South China Sea, 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 which came just days after the bombers’ training with the U.S. Navy near Hawaii.

The PACAF statement said that the mission demonstrated “the credibility of the U.S. Air Force forces to address a diverse and uncertain security environment”.

The U.S. Air Force 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”.

(File Image) A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber takes off at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, on May 8, 2020, for a South China Sea mission. (USAF photo by Senior Airman River Bruce)

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.

Since arriving in Guam, the bombers conducted multiple missions over the South China Sea, East China Sea and the Sea of Japan.

B-1B Lancer

The Rockwell B-1B Lancer is a supersonic variable-sweep wing, heavy strategic bomber used by the U.S. Air Force. It is commonly called the “Bone” (from “B-One”).

The B-1B is one of three strategic bombers in the U.S. Air Force fleet, the other two being the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber and the B-52 Stratofortress bomber. Unlike the other two bombers, the B-1B is currently not capable of being armed with nuclear weapons.

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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