B-52s officially joined the air war on Monday, striking an ISIS weapons facility in Iraq. The Stratofortress on Monday hit an ISIS building in the village of Qayyarah, west of Makhmur. B-52s, which deployed to US Central Command earlier this month to replace B-1 Lancers that previously returned home, are a unique asset for the fight because of the large weapons payload it can carry, and the length of time it can remain in the air, coalition spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said during a Wednesday briefing. The B-52s are employing precision weapons in the fight, and are capable of flying close air support for friendly forces, he said. Warren declined to say exactly what kind of weapons the bomber dropped.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.