The US Air Force (USAF) has deployed its B-1B Lancer aircraft to carry out a continental US (CONUS) to CONUS bomber task force (BTF) mission.

The mission was conducted in support of the US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) area of responsibility (AOR).

The B-1B Lancer aircraft from the 7th Operations Group have already departed from Dyess Air Force Base (AFB) on 7 September.

USSOUTHCOM leadership said: “This kind of regional military engagement strengthens our partnership with Ecuador and Panama and enhances interoperability and improves our collective readiness for a range of potential future operations – from disaster relief to humanitarian assistance to security operations.

“When our forces train alongside one another we improve our ability to work together in times of crisis.”

As part of this operation, aircrew of the deployed aircraft integrated with partner nations in the USSOUTHCOM AOR to perform a wide variety of missions, including air-to-air refuelling of the B-1B Lancers from the MacDill AFB-based tanker aircraft.

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It also involved a mission to counter illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in the Galapagos Islands, off the coast of Ecuador.

The latest deployment marks the fourth BTF mission conducted this year. 

Other missions include one Indo-Pacific Command AOR mission, one BTF deployment to the Royal Air Force Fairford, UK and one CONUS to CONUS mission to the US Africa Command AOR.

Conducted by the US Air Force Global Strike Command, the BTF missions aim to boost the nation’s commitment with their allies and partner nations to maintain security and stability in the region.

7th Bomber Wing commander colonel Joseph Kramer said: “These bomber missions demonstrate our ability to respond to threats in today’s complex, dynamic and volatile global security environment anytime, anywhere.”