The US Air Force (USAF) Ellsworth Air Force Base’s (AFB) two B-1B Lancers have integrated with Ukrainian Su-27 Flankers and MiG-29 Fulcrums, and Turkish KC-135 Stratotankers during Dynamic Force Employment mission.
The mission was conducted throughout Europe and the Black Sea region.
Additionally, USAF Lancers integrated with Polish F-16 Fighting Falcons and MiG-29s, and Romanian F-16s and MiG-21s.
In the Black Sea region, the Lancers escorted and provided combat patrol.
During the 12,200 nautical mile mission, spanning 29 hours, the B-1 bombers also joined Greek F-16s for an air policing overflight of Skopje in North Macedonia.
The mission demonstrated Ellsworth AFB’s ability to respond to any potential challenge across the globe.
To successfully conclude the mission, the Lancers were provided with aerial refuelling support by British, Turkish and American KC-135s based out of Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, and Royal Air Force Mildenhall, UK.
USAF 28th Bomb Wing commander Colonel David Doss said: “That is what it takes to conduct the outstanding work and accomplish the achievements seen over the last month.
“Whether at Ellsworth (AFB), or at the air operations centres that support these missions, or with our sister services, allies and partners … none of this would be possible without teamwork.”
Upon arrival of the aircraft, post-flight activities were conducted by maintenance personnel. Specialists gathered data from the aircrews.
The personnel faced additional challenges due to the restrictions imposed following the outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
To limit large gatherings, the aircraft maintenance unit spread aircrew operating in three shifts to among six shifts.
USAF 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron lead production superintendent Sergeant Daniel Youngblood said: “Social distancing has resulted in huge changes in the maintenance community, especially on the flightline.
“We have had to develop B-1 specific and tool decontamination procedures, slim down on shifts and learn to maintain operations with minimal capabilities.”