US demonstrates airpower in Indo-Pacific region with simultaneous bomber missions
US demonstrates airpower in Indo-Pacific region with simultaneous bomber missions

US Air Force 171st Air Refueling Wing KC-135 Stratotanker Leads the Way

It was just a normal day for the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker military aerial refueling aircraft crew. A routine air refueling mission? It was a little more than that. On Aug. 17, 2020 the U.S. Air Force 171st Air Refueling Wing provided 100 thousand pounds of fuel to a Rockwell B-1B Lancer supersonic heavy bomber from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota. The aerial tanker from Pittsburgh was the lead jet in a 4-ship formation, the others were from MacDill Air Force Base, Fairchild AFB and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Each tanker refueled a Lancer.

U.S. Navy Carrier Air Wing five F/A-18 Super Hornets, Marine Corps Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 F-35 Lightning IIs, all assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, and a U.S. Air Force 37th Bomb Squadron B-1B Lancer assigned to Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., conduct a large-scale joint and bilateral integration training exercise Aug. 18, 2020.
U.S. Navy Carrier Air Wing five F/A-18 Super Hornets, Marine Corps Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 F-35 Lightning IIs, all assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, and a U.S. Air Force 37th Bomb Squadron B-1B Lancer assigned to Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., conduct a large-scale joint and bilateral integration training exercise Aug. 18, 2020.(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Peter Reft)

The supersonic heavy bombers were on their way to the East Sea to meet up with the Koku Jieitai, or Japan Air Self-Defense Force, for routine interoperability training. While there, they conducted training together that further strengthened the allied partnership. Together four B-1B Lancers, two B-2 Spirit Stealth Bombers, four F-15C Eagles conducted Bomber Task Force missions within the Indo-Pacific region over the course of 24 hours. This demonstrated the readiness to deliver wide-range support in a moment’s notice.

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