The US Air Force (USAF) has realigned B-1 Lancer bomber fleets and long-range strike-bomber (LRS-B) programme under a unified command.
Effective from 1 October, the realignment effort will see 63 B-1bombers and nearly 7,000 personnel transfer from the Air Combat Command (ACC) to the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC), which will now be responsible for organising, training and equipping airmen to perform the air force’s core mission of global strike.
US Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said: "Consolidating all of our air force assets in this critical mission area under a single command will help provide a unified voice to maintain the high standards necessary in stewardship of our nation’s bomber forces."
US Air Force Chief of Staff general Mark Welsh said: "With a single command responsible for the air force’s entire long-range strike fleet, the airmen in AFGSC will benefit from better coordination and increased sharing of expertise across the five bomber wings.
"Consolidating all conventional and nuclear capable bombers within the same command allows the air force to streamline the global strike and strategic deterrence missions, and create a lasting positive impact for the air force’s global strike capabilities."
The 7th Bomb Wing and the 28th BW is located at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, and Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota. It will continue to serve as the host wings and provide installation support and services to other units on the bases.
The realignment follows the USAF’s plan to elevate the AFGSC commander from a three-star to a four-star general officer position, which will be assumed by the current commander of the Air Education and Training Command, general Robin Rand.
Air Force Global Strike Command commander lieutenant general Stephen Wilson said: "The impacts of the realignment will become noticeable over time as crosstalk among maintainers and aviators increases across all three platforms, creating opportunities in training, tactics development, doctrine development, aircraft modernisation and acquisition."
Since moving from the Strategic Air Command in 1992, the B-1 has played a vital role in combating the nation’s enemies, either projecting combat power from bases at home or from forward-operating locations worldwide.
Image: A USAF B-1 Lancer heavy bomber in flight. Photo: courtesy of Denniss.