Ellsworth B-1Bs take over CBP mission


By Dario Leone
Aug 10 2017
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On Aug. 7, 2017 two B-1Bs from 37th EBS conducted a sequence of bilateral training missions with Republic of Korea and Japanese air forces and performed a pass over the Pilsung Range

Six B-1Bs and 350 Airmen with the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron (EBS), 28th Bomb Wing from Ellsworth Air Force Base (AFB), South Dakota, deployed to Andersen AFB, at the end of July in support of U.S. Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence (CBP) mission.

Ellsworth B-1Bs deployed at Andersen AFB

The 37th EBS is assuming responsibility for CBP operations from the 9th EBS, assigned to Dyess AFB, Texas, which arrived here February 2017.

As explained by Tech. Sgt. Richard Ebensberger, 36th Wing Public Affairs, in the article Ellsworth Airmen take on Pacific bomber mission as Dyess completes milestone deployment, for the duration of this current deployment, the 37th EBS will operate a fully upgraded fleet of Block 16 B-1s. The Block 16 update includes a series of improvements to the B-1s avionics, data-link equipment and other systems, all of which improve aircrew situational awareness, interoperability with other aircraft, and overall mission efficiency.

These upgrades are of particular value in a region as vast and diverse as the Indo-Asia-Pacific, as demonstrated by the departing 9th EBS, who executed the first-ever all-Block 16 B-1 deployment during their deployment to Andersen.

On Aug. 7, 2017 in fact two B-1Bs from 37th EBS relied on this state-of-the-art equipment to conduct a sequence of bilateral training missions with Republic of Korea and Japanese air forces.

B-1B Artwork
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. B-1B Lancer 28th FW, 34th BS Thunderbirds, EL/86-129 / 2005

According to a PACAF press release, after taking off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, the B-1s assigned to the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, flew to Japanese airspace, where they were joined by Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self Defense Force, JASDF) F-2 fighter jets. The B-1s then flew over the Korean Peninsula where they were joined by Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) KF-16 fighter jets. The B-1s then performed a pass over the Pilsung Range 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 enhance their combined capabilities and tactical skills, while also strengthening the long standing military-to-military relationships in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Ellsworth B-1Bs deployed at Andersen AFB

“How we train is how we fight and the more we interface with our allies, the better prepared we are to fight tonight,” said a 37th EBS B-1 pilot. “The B-1 is a long-range bomber that is well-suited for the maritime domain and can meet the unique challenges of the Pacific.”

Noteworthy in July alone, the 9th EBS conducted missions that spanned from Guam to the East and South China Seas, Korean Peninsula and down to Australia. One of these missions was a bilateral mission with JASDF F-15s at night, marking the first time U.S. PACOM directed B-1s have conducted combined training with JASDF fighters at night.

Ellsworth B-1Bs train with JASDF and ROKAF fighters

In addition to this milestone, the squadron was also part of a collective military response to a series of increasingly escalatory actions by North Korea, including a launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) when two B-1s launched from Andersen AFB and conducted a 10-hour sequenced bilateral mission with South Korean and Japanese fighter jets.

Photo credit: Airman 1st Class Gerald Willis and Tech. Sgt. Richard P. Ebensberger / U.S. Air Force

Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com

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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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