A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed from Dyess Air Force Base (AFB), Texas, and a B-1B assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing, deployed from Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, fly a 10-hour mission from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, into Japanese airspace and over the Korean Peninsula, July 30, 2017. The B-1s first made contact with Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-2 fighter jets in Japanese airspace, then proceeded over the Korean Peninsula and were joined by South Korean F-15 fighter jets. U.S. Pacific Command maintains flexible bomber and fighter capabilities in the Indo-Asia-Pacific theater, retaining the ability to quickly respond to any regional threat in order to defend the U.S. homeland and in support of our allies. (Courtesy photo)

In response to North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs and as a part of the continuing demonstration of ironclad U.S. commitment to our allies, two U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers under the command of U.S. Pacific Air Forces, joined their counterparts from the Republic of Korea and Japanese air forces in a sequenced bilateral missions July 29.

This mission is in direct response to North Korea’s escalatory launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles on July 3 and July 28.

“North Korea remains the most urgent threat to regional stability,” said Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, Pacific Air Forces commander. “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.”

After taking off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, the B-1s flew to Japanese airspace, where they were joined by two Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self Defense Force) F-2 fighter jets. The B-1s then flew over the Korean Peninsula where they were joined by four Republic of Korea Air Force F-15 fighter jets. The B-1s then performed a low-pass over Osan Air Base, South Korea, before leaving South Korean airspace and returning to Guam.

Throughout the approximately 10-hour mission, the aircrews practiced intercept and formation training, enabling them to improve their combined capabilities and tactical skills, while also strengthening the long standing military-to-military relationships in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

U.S. Pacific Command maintains flexible bomber and fighter capabilities in the Indo-Asia-Pacific theater, retaining the ability to quickly respond to any regional threat in order to defend the U.S. homeland and in support of our allies.