USAF flies B-1B bombers in response to North Korean missile launch
The US Air Force (USAF) has flown two B-1B bombers in response to North Korea’s escalatory launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles on 3 July and 28 July.
Under the command of US Pacific Air Forces, the B-1Bs took off from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam to conduct a sequenced bilateral mission.
The 10-hour mission witnessed participation from Japan Air Self Defense Force’s two Koku Jieitai F-2 fighter jets and the Republic of Korea Air Force’s four F-15 fighter jets.
The aircraft practised intercept and formation training, which will allow aircrews to improve their combined capabilities and tactical skills, while also strengthening the long-standing military-to-military relationships in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
The bombers then performed a low-pass over Osan Air Base, South Korea, before leaving South Korean airspace and returning to Guam, the US Pacific Air Forces stated.
Pacific Air Forces commander general Terrence J O'Shaughnessy said: "North Korea remains the most urgent threat to regional stability.
"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."
The US Pacific Command is responsible for maintaining flexible bomber and fighter capabilities in the Indo-Asia-Pacific theatre, by retaining the ability to quickly respond to any regional threat in order to defend the US homeland and in support of its allies.
Image: Two USAF B-1B Lancers fly a ten-hour mission from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, into Japanese airspace and over the Korean Peninsula. Photo: courtesy of the USAF.