A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer assigned to the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, forward deployed from Andersen AFB, Guam, to Misawa Air Base, Japan, to conduct a hot pit refuel in support of a Bomber Task Force (BTF) mission.This type of refueling uses a technique in which aircraft land and refuel without shutting down their engines, reducing the amount of time the aircraft spends on the ground. Training outside the U.S. enables aircrew and Airmen to become familiar with other theaters and airspace, and enhances the enduring skills and relationships necessary to confront a broad range of global challenges in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“Hot pit refueling provides us a means to quickly refuel aircraft and get them back into the air, extending a route of flight that we may not reach from our home station. It provides flexibility in our mission and demonstrates the ability to quickly get B-1s back in the fight, if needed,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Christopher McConnell, 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron commander. BTF missions showcase our ability to integrate with many Allied and partner nations in the Indo-Pacific region, in addition to our Joint Forces. They provide valuable training for our bomber crews across multiple mission sets while integrating with those forces, and show our nation’s commitment to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific by exercising across the region.”
The 37th Bomb Squadron is part of the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota. It operates Rockwell B-1 Lancer aircraft providing strategic bombing capability. The squadron is one of the oldest in the United States Air Force, its origins dating to 13 June 1917, when the 37th Aero Squadron was organized at Kelly Field, Texas. The squadron deployed to France as part of the American Expeditionary Force during World War I and served as a training unit until returning to the US for demobilization. The 37th Bomb Squadron is an honorary member of the NATO Tiger Association.
The Rockwell B-1 Lancer is a supersonic variable-sweep wing, heavy bomber used by the United States Air Force. It is commonly called the “Bone” (from “B-One”). It is one of three strategic bombers serving in the U.S. Air Force fleet along with the B-2 Spirit and the B-52 Stratofortress as of 2022. With the disestablishment of SAC and its reassignment to the Air Combat Command in 1992, the B-1B was converted for a conventional bombing role. It first served in combat during Operation Desert Fox in 1998 and again during the NATO action in Kosovo the following year. The B-1B has supported U.S. and NATO military forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. As of 2021 the Air Force has an inventory of 45 B-1Bs. The Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider is to begin replacing the B-1B after 2025; all B-1s are planned to be retired by 2036.