April 28 (UPI) -- A B-1B Lancer assigned to the 37th Bomb Squadron integrated with the Japan Air Self Defense Force to conduct bilateral and theater familiarization training near Japan last week, the Air Force announced.
According to the Air Force, the aircraft launched from Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota to fly the nearly 29-hour, round-trip sortie to the Indo-Pacific and team up with six U.S. F-16 Fighting Falcons and seven JASDF F-2s and eight JASDF F-15s over the Draughon Range as part of the joint mission between U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force.
The mission was conducted on April 22, officials said.
"This was a higher-headquarters directed operational mission to assure our allies, and deter adversaries while demonstrating the dynamic force employment model," Lt. Col. Lincoln Coleman, 37th BS commander, said in a press release.
"This was a total team effort involving every group on base that provided us with the opportunity to integrate with multiple air operations centers in different areas of responsibility," Coleman said.
The last time the B-1 was in the Indo Pacific area of responsibility was in January 2018 when the airframe and crews completed a six-month Continuous Bomber Presence mission at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.
"In order to execute Air Force Global Strike Command's mission, we must be familiar with how our allies and mission partners operate around the globe," Coleman said. "This requires us to continually execute joint and combined operations around the world. This mission provided a unique opportunity for our aircrew to interact with our allies in an operational environment, improve interoperability and reinforce our partnership."