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U.S. B-1 Lancers, B-2 stealth bombers conduct missions in Indo-Pacific

U.S. B-1 Lancers, B-2 stealth bombers conduct missions in Indo-Pacific
U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Japan Air Self Defense Force aircraft conduct a large-scale joint and bilateral integration training exercise Tuesday. Photo by Peter Reft/U.S. Air Force

Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Pacific Air Forces launched four B-1 Lancers, two B-2 Spirit Stealth Bombers and four F-15C Eagles and conducted Bomber Task Force missions simultaneously with joint and allied partners in the Indo-Pacific region over the course of 24 hours, officials said Tuesday.

Pacific Air Force conducted the Bomber Task Force operations, which started on Monday, to show the United States' commitment to allies and partners in the region, the Air Force said.

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"Our unique strength as an Air Force is our ability to generate integrated actions with our joint teammates and allies and partners to challenge competitors in a time and place of our choosing," Gen. Ken Wilsbach, Pacific Air Forces commander, said in a statement.

"These simultaneous airpower missions demonstrated our capacity and readiness to deliver a wide range of proactive, scalable options to quickly deploy our forces to support our mission of ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific theater," Wilsbach said.

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The B-1s departed from Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota for the Sea of Japan, where they integrated with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.

Meanwhile, another set of B-1s took off from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.

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The four 15-Cs departed from Kadena Air Base in Japan to integrate with the B-1s as well as the Navy's USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, as well as F-35 Lightning IIs assigned to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan and F-15J aircraft from the JASDF to conduct large exercise training.

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Also, two B-2 Spirit Stealth Bombers from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri joined the missions.

Earlier this month, the USS Reagan participated in joint Air Force and Navy training exercises near Japan. That event involved Navy Electronic Attack Squadron 131 which transitioned from Whidbey Island,Wash., in June, and the Air Force 35th Fighter Wing.

"High end, integrated training with our Air Force peers enhances our capability to respond to any contingency, and meet any challenge," said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. George Wikoff, Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group commander. "U.S. joint integration demonstrates our unwavering commitment to regional defense agreements with our allies and partners."

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Wikoff also said missions like the one conducted Monday show the ability of U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command to deliver lethal, ready, long-range strike options to Geographic Combatant Commanders anytime, anywhere.

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