B-52H bombers currently stationed on Guam participated late last month in a training exercise called “Aces North” Australia with fighter aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Force. During a four-day period, B-52s flew 12-hour sorties from Andersen Air Force Base down to the Australian continent to meet up with RAAF aircraft flown by Aussie pilots practicing air-combat techniques as part of a five-month fighter combat instructor course. “This was a great experience,” said Maj. Tom Morgan, assistant director of operations for the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, the B-52 unit from Minot AFB, N.D., that arrived at Andersen in early October as part of a four-month rotational deployment. Morgan said the exercise allowed the B-52 airmen to execute long-duration missions, promote interoperability with a coalition partner, and fly as part of large-force packages of upwards of 30 aircraft. For the Aussies, it was the opportunity to train with a distinct bomber capability. The 23rd EBS is set to finish its stint on Guam in January. Last month, these B-52s took part in an exercise with elements of the Japan Self Defense Forces. (Andersen report by A1C Ryan Whitney)
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.