Bombers Conduct Bilateral Flights After North Korea ICBM Launch


In response to North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programs and as a part of the continuing demonstration of ironclad U.S. commitment to its allies, two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers under the command of U.S. Pacific Air Forces joined their counterparts from South Korea and Japan in sequenced bilateral missions yesterday.

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, prepares for a 10-hour mission from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, into Japanese airspace and over the Korean Peninsula, July 30, 2017. The B-1s flew with Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-2 fighter jets in Japanese airspace, then proceeded over the Korean Peninsula and were joined by South Korean F-15 fighter jets. The aircrews practiced intercept and formation training during the mission, enabling them to improve their combined capabilities and tactical skills, while also strengthening the long standing military-to-military relationships in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Gerald Willis)
An Air Force B-1B Lancer assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron prepares for a 10-hour mission from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, into Japanese airspace and over the Korean Peninsula, July 30, 2017. The B-1s flew with Japan Air Self-Defense Force Mitsubishi F-2 fighter jets in Japanese airspace, then proceeded over the Korean Peninsula and were joined by South Korean F-15 Eagle fighter jets. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gerald Willis
A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, prepares for a 10-hour mission from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, into Japanese airspace and over the Korean Peninsula, July 30, 2017. The B-1s flew with Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-2 fighter jets in Japanese airspace, then proceeded over the Korean Peninsula and were joined by South Korean F-15 fighter jets. The aircrews practiced intercept and formation training during the mission, enabling them to improve their combined capabilities and tactical skills, while also strengthening the long standing military-to-military relationships in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Gerald Willis)
U.S. bombers conduct bilateral mission with allies in response to North Korea ICBM launch
An Air Force B-1B Lancer assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron prepares for a 10-hour mission from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, into Japanese airspace and over the Korean Peninsula, July 30, 2017. The B-1s flew with Japan Air Self-Defense Force Mitsubishi F-2 fighter jets in Japanese airspace, then proceeded over the Korean Peninsula and were joined by South Korean F-15 Eagle fighter jets. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Gerald Willis
Photo By: Airman 1st Class Gerald Willis
VIRIN: 170730-F-FF346-0040

The missions were in direct response to North Korea's escalatory launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles on July 3 and July 28, officials said.

"North Korea remains the most urgent threat to regional stability," said Air Force Gen. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, the Pacific Air Forces commander. "Diplomacy remains the lead; however, we have a responsibility to our allies and our nation to showcase our unwavering commitment while planning for the worst-case scenario. If called upon, we are ready to respond with rapid, lethal, and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing."

Training Opportunity

After taking off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, the B-1s flew to Japanese airspace, where they were joined by two Japan Air Self-Defense Force Mitsubishi F-2 fighter jets. The B-1s then flew over the Korean Peninsula where they were joined by four South Korean Air Force F-15 Eagle fighter jets. The B-1s then performed a low-pass over Osan Air Base, South Korea, before leaving South Korean airspace and returning to Guam.

Throughout the approximately 10-hour mission, the aircrews practiced intercept and formation training, enabling them to improve their combined capabilities and tactical skills, while also strengthening the longstanding military-to-military relationships in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

U.S. Pacific Command maintains flexible bomber and fighter capabilities in the Indo-Asia-Pacific theater, retaining the ability to quickly respond to any regional threat in order to defend the U.S. homeland and in support of allies.

(From a Pacific Air Forces news release.)