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For the first time, a B-1 bomber lands in Poland

A U.S. B-1 Lancer bomber arrived in Poland for the first time on Friday, to execute a quick refueling operation. Photo by Senior Airman John Wright/U.S. Air Force
A U.S. B-1 Lancer bomber arrived in Poland for the first time on Friday, to execute a quick refueling operation. Photo by Senior Airman John Wright/U.S. Air Force

March 12 (UPI) -- A U.S. Air Force B-1 Lancer bomber landed in Poland for the first time for a quick refueling exercise on Friday at Powidz Air Base, the Air Force said.

The plane, assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, executed a "hot-pit refuel," in which it was refueled with engines running and its crew remaining in the cockpit.

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The maneuver "drastically reduces refueling times so that bombers can more rapidly return to the skies," an Air Force statement on Friday said.

The landing was also the first time the quick refueling operation was conducted on a bomber in Europe.

Hot-pit refueling is an element of Agile Combat Employment, which enhances bombers' ability to rapidly deploy and operate from remote locations with varying levels of capacity and support.

The practice increases lethality, strengthens interoperability and advances efficiency in accomplishing the mission, according to the U.S. Strategic Command.

"Proving the rapid refueling concept today in Poland alongside some of our closest allies speaks for itself," said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander. "Our bombers can get after the mission anytime, anywhere."

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While traveling to NATO partner Poland, the B-1 flew from Orland Air Force Station, Norway, and integrated with fighter planes of Sweden, Poland and the Netherlands in a Bomber Task Force Europe training mission called Spring Spear.

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