U.S. Air Force B-1B Bombers Integrate with Ukrainian and Turkish Aircraft for First Time

The U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer supersonic strategic bombers integrated with Ukrainian and Turkish aircraft for the first time ever, on May 29.

The integration was conducted during a recent long-range, long-duration strategic Bomber Task Force mission executed by two bombers, from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, throughout Europe and the Black Sea region.

The mission saw the integration of the bombers with Ukrainian Air Force Su-27 Flanker and MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jets, and Turkish Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling aircraft.

A Ukrainian Air Force Su-27 Flanker and MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter aircraft flying with two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lance strategic bombers. Ukrainian Air Force photo.

The flight also included integration and interoperability training with Polish F-16 Fighting Falcon and MiG-29 fighter jets and Romanian F-16s and MiG-21 Fishbeds, which provided escort and combat patrol overwatch in the Black Sea region.

A KC-135 Stratotanker from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England, Turkish and U.S. KC-135s based out of Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, and other NATO aerial refueling aircraft enabled the B-1 to complete the round trip from Ellsworth Air Force Base without delay, while also providing aerial refueling support to our partner-nation aircraft.

Additionally, the B-1s integrated with Greek F-16 air policing for an overflight of Skopje, North Macedonia.

Bomber missions familiarize aircrew with air bases, airspace, and operations in different geographic combatant commands. These missions build proficiency and confidence, and they demonstrate the credibility of our forces to address a global security environment that is more diverse and uncertain than at any other time in our history.

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