A pair of United States Air Force B-52H Stratofortress bombers took part in a “show-of-force” patrol mission in the Middle East on Thursday as tensions in the region remain high. American and Saudi Arabian officials continue to monitor for an imminent attack from Iran. There are concerns that Tehran could launch an attack on the Kingdom, likely on its energy infrastructure.
הטיסה התקיימה כחלק משיתוף הפעולה ההולך וגובר עם צבא ארה”ב. שיתוף הפעולה מהווה רכיב משמעותי בבטחון הלאומי של מדינת ישראל, שומר על היציבות במזרח התיכון ומסכל איומים אזוריים>> pic.twitter.com/kR7wXMM6z5
— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) November 10, 2022
The U.S. military continues to monitor an increased threat from Iran to Iraq, where the U.S. still has thousands of troops and personnel deployed to numerous bases.
The two Cold War-era bombers took part in multilateral drills with partner air forces in the region, CENTCOM announced.
“This Bomber Task Force mission demonstrates our commitment to regional security and the collective capabilities of our military partners in the region,” said Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, commander of CENTCOM. “CENTCOM has the ability to very quickly put a significant amount of combat power in the air alongside our partners. We can do the same on the ground and at sea to meet any challenge decisively.”
During the BTF, two B-52H Stratofortress aircraft from the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, integrated with 13 partner nation air forces, and showcased the ability to rapidly deploy global airpower alongside coalition and regional partner forces and ensure the security of this critical region.
It also marked the first multilateral use of Transverse, a program on the CENTCOM Partner Network that enhances partner nations’ operational situational awareness. In total, seven nations monitored the BTF on Transverse and will apply the lessons they learned to future operations.
“This Bomber Task Force is a clear reflection of enduring U.S. commitment to the region,” said Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich, Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central) commander. “Together with our partners, we can rapidly inject overwhelming combat power into our common operating area. In this dynamic environment, no one can go it alone, and each BTF we execute allows us to deepen interoperability and practice key operational tasks with our allies and partners.”
Israeli Air Force Provided Escort for B-52H
During the flight, the B-52s were escorted by Israeli Air Force F-35I “Adir” fighter jets – the unique variant of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that was developed especially for the Middle Eastern partner. Israel is currently the only nation in the region to operate the fifth-generation stealth fighter, and the only nation to utilize a variant featuring its own domestically-developed modifications.
“The flight took place as part of the increasing cooperation with the U.S. military, which is a significant component of the national security of the State of Israel, maintaining regional stability and thwarting regional threats,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.
Images of the flight were also shared via social media by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), as you can see above.
Though Israeli jets escorting the American bombers have become a regular fixture in the region, The Times of Israel reported, in the past, it was typically F-15s or F-16s that provided the escort. This week’s flight marked the first time that the F-35I acted as wingmen for the U.S. aircraft.
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.
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