Commander: US, allies training to unleash ‘full lethal capability’
Two B-1B supersonic bomber aircraft launched from Andersen Air Force Base on July 7 and flew alongside South Korean and Japanese fighter jets in a show of force following North Korea’s latest missile test.
The B-1Bs that took off from Andersen conducted a 10-hour sequenced mission “as part of the continuing demonstration of the ironclad U.S. commitment to our allies agains the growing threat from North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs,” according to the U.S. Pacific Air Force Command.
“North Korea’s actions are a threat to our allies, partners and homeland,” said Gen. Terrence O’ Shaughnessy, Pacific Air Force commander. “Let me be clear: If called upon, we are trained, equipped and ready to unleash the full lethal capability of our allied air forces.”
North Korea’s missile test launches have been increasingly escalating, with the July 3 test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, according to the Air Force.
The B-1Bs flew to the Korean Peninsula where they were joined by South Korean F-15 fighter jets and U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jets. The B-1Bs practiced attack capabilities by releasing inert weapons at the Pilsung Range.
“U.S. bombers and Republic of Korea fighters are just two of many lethal military options at our disposal,” said Lt. Gen. Thomas Bergeson, U.S. Forces Korea deputy commander. “This mission clearly demonstrates the U.S.-ROK alliance remains prepared to use the full range of capabilities to defend and to preserve the security of the Korean Peninsula and region.”
The display of airpower took a side trip over the South China Sea.
En route back to Guam, the B-1Bs flew with Japanese F-2 fighter jets over the East China Sea.
“The U.S.-Japan alliance and the relationship between our militaries are stronger than they have ever been,” said Lt. Gen. Jerry P. Martinez, U.S. Forces Japan commander. “We continue to train with our Japanese allies to ensure we are ready to defend ourselves from attack.”
The U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancers are assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, and are temporarily stationed at Andersen Air Force Base.