The B-52s that deployed to fight ISIS earlier this year are still standing up and have not been flying high-tempo operations, though they have been “picking up the pace,” said Air Forces Central Command boss Lt. Gen. Charles Brown during a Thursday briefing. Since the B-52 hasn’t been based in the US Central Command area of operations for 26 years, the command needs to build up its logistic supports to “make sure they’ve got everything they need,” he noted. The operations tempo has continued to increase over the past six weeks, and will continue to do so, Brown said. The Stratofortresses replaced B-1s, which recently rotated out of CENTCOM for the first time since 2001 after setting records for the amount of weapons dropped during its last deployment. Still, the B-52 is another strike platform available and, “I like having them here,” Brown said.
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.