Air Force and Navy elements on Guam joined forces for a week’s worth of sea mine planting earlier this month. Aircrews flying B-52 bombers deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam, dropped 92 Mk 62 and four Mk 56 mines over the course of 10 sorties. Senior Chief Petty Officer John Pipkin with the Navy’s Mobile Mine Assembly Unit 8 on Guam explained that the mines provide both defensive deterrent and offensive strike capability and added, “When we need to lay a lot of mines quickly, bombers are the platform of choice.”
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.