U.S. Air Force (USAF) and Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) has conducted nightime training during a bilateral mission over the East China Sea July 6, USAF Pacific Air Forces said in a statement.
B-1B Lancer assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, took off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam and flew over the East China Sea. While bilateral operations like this have become increasingly routine, this mission marked the first time U.S. Pacific Command-directed B-1B Lancers have conducted combined training with JASDF fighters at night.
The exercise came amid rise in tension in the Korean peninsula following the test launch of an Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) by North Korea. The US and South Korea had also conducted missile firing drills in response to the ICBM test launch. China is also muscle-flexing in the South China Sea region by aggressively deploying military assets in the artificial islands controlled by them.
Statement said that “participating in bilateral training enables the operational units to improve their combined capabilities and tactical skills, while also building bilateral confidence and strong working relationships.”
“Flying and training at night with our allies in a safe, effective manner is an important capability shared between the U.S. and Japan,” said Maj. Ryan Simpson, Pacific Air Forces chief of bomber operations.
On conclusion of the bilateral operations, the B-1Bs proceeded to the South China Sea before returning to Andersen Air Force Base.
The mission was part of the freedom of navigation (FONOP) operations conducted by U.S. Armed Forces.
Source: USAF PACAF