Two B-52H Stratofortress strategic bombers flew to the U.S. Central Command’s (CENTOM) area of responsibility as a reminder to Tehran to behave while talks are underway for the Iranian nuclear agreement.
B-52 Bombers Over the Middle East
The strategic bombers focused on theater integration training. Such drills are necessary in the event that an actual strike mission must take place.
In addition, during the Bomber Task Force mission, the pair of B-52H Stratofortress strategic bombers worked and trained with a plethora of aircraft, including F-15 Strike Eagle, F/A-18 Super Hornet, and FGR-4 Tornado fighter jets, RJ-135 reconnaissance aircraft, KC-135, KC-10, and KC-46 air refueling aircraft, and E-3 Sentry airborne warning and control (AWACS) aircraft.
The escort fighter jets came from the U.K., Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait.
“This Bomber Task Force is a strong, clear representation of enduring U.S. commitment to the region. In addition to maintaining a sufficient, sustainable force posture, AFCENT is able—in concert with our partners—to rapidly inject overwhelming combat power into the region on demand,” Lieutenant General Alexus Grynkewich, the commander of the U.S. 9th Air Force (Air Forces Central), said in a press release.
“Threats to the U.S. and our partners will not go unanswered. Missions like this BTF showcase our ability to combine forces to deter and, if necessary, defeat our adversaries,” Grynkewich added.
The last time a Bomber Task Force mission took place in the Middle East was in June.
The two B-52H Stratofortresses came from the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command. But the mission overall had a very intense international flavor. Besides working with several allied and partnered nations in the air, the B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers relied on the services of 16 coalition nations for logistical support.
“Communication is critical. By enhancing lines of communication, we are able to establish a clear and direct line in real time amongst the Air Operations Centers of all nations participating. This allows us to work towards a common goal and leads to mission success,” Royal Canadian Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Terry Wong, the Deputy Director of Combat Operations, Combined Air Operations Center.
Nuclear Deterrence and Bombers
The Pentagon uses Bomber Task Force missions to test the readiness and interoperability of its bomber force.
As part of the U.S.’ strategic deterrence, bombers such as the B-52 Stratofortress, B-2 Spirit, and B-1 Lancer must be able to conduct demanding long-range missions anywhere in the world on a very short notice.
They are part of the “Air” component of the U.S. military’s nuclear triad and as a such must be able to deliver nuclear (and conventional) munitions across the globe. The ability to deliver unhindered is the cornerstone of the nuclear deterrence concept.
Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.