Bomber Task Force Sends B-1s to the Arctic, Near Africa

Three B-1Bs flew a long-range bomber task force mission on Sept. 10, starting from Texas and transiting through the East Siberian Sea near the Arctic before touching down at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, to prepare for more missions, U.S. European Command announced.

The three Lancers, from the Reserve 345th Bomb Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, flew the 14-hour, 4,300-nautical-mile mission into the easternmost section of EUCOM’s area of responsibility, the command said in a release. The task force mission comes as B-52s are already deployed to EUCOM as part of another bomber task force. 

It is the first time a Reserve unit has flown a European bomber task force mission, according to the command.

“The mission, which complemented the deployment of six B-52s to RAF Fairford in England, showcased how U.S.-based assets can be employed to achieve an operational objective on USEUCOM’s eastern and western flanks,” the command said.

Two days before the B-1 mission, two of the B-52s deployed to Fairford, then flew south and trained alongside Tunisian Air Force F-5s over the Mediterranean Sea.

“Our ability to conduct these missions with our African partners enhances our interoperability and collective responsiveness to ensure security and stability prevails within the African continent,” U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Bradford J. Gering, U.S. Africa Command deputy director of operations, said in a release.