Two U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress strategic bombers integrated with Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) fighter jets and U.S. Navy E/A-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft over the Sea of Japan, on June, 17.
During the mission, the B-52s conducted long-range escort and intercept training with four JASDF (Koku-Jieitai) F-2s and 12 F-15s to enhance the readiness and security of the region. In addition, the bombers conducted integration training with E/A-18G Growlers from the U.S. Navy’s Electronic Attack Squadron 209 (VAQ-209) “Star Warriors” deployed to Misawa AB, Japan.
The bombers, currently deployed to Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, are supporting Bomber Task Force ( BTF) missions “to demonstrate the United States’ unwavering commitment to the security and stability of the Indo-Pacific region”.
“These strategic bomber missions provide our Airmen with the realistic long duration sorties that they require to remain highly proficient and ready to act when called upon to support the collective defense of the United States,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Duff, the 96th Bomb Squadron commander from Barksdale. “Deploying in an expeditionary format challenges our aircrews, maintainers and support personnel in different theaters, further demonstrating the credibility of our forces to be agile and provide long range global strike capability, anywhere in the world, and at any time.”
In line with the National Defense Strategy’s objectives of strategic predictability and operational unpredictability, the U.S. Air Force transitioned its force employment model to enable strategic bombers to operate forward in the Indo-Pacific region from a broader array of overseas and CONUS locations with greater operational resilience.
The BTF missions enable a mix of different types of strategic bombers an opportunity to train alongside Allies and Partners in a joint environment and to build interoperability to bolster their ability to support a free and open Indo-Pacific.
This latest BTF follows a June 14 mission involving a B-52 integrating with F-22 Raptors and Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornets to conduct intercept training over the Beaufort Sea in support of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).
MORE PHOTOS: @usairforce #B52 #Stratofortress strategic bombers integrate with #F22 Raptors and @RCAF_ARC #CF18 Hornets to conduct intercept training in support of @NORADCommand over the Beaufort Sea during a recent #BomberTaskForce mission. USAF Photo. pic.twitter.com/uSeDbLftyV
— DefPost (@defpostmedia) June 17, 2020
The B-52 Stratofortress has been the backbone of the U.S. strategic bomber force more than 60 years, capable of dropping or launching the widest array of weapons in the U.S inventory. The Air Force currently expects to operate B-52s through 2050.