Air Force B-1 bombers have gone to India and Norway as part of the service’s massively stepped-up Bomber Task Force (BTF) global operations, intended to further solidify international partnerships, interoperability and conduct high-impact deterrence missions intended to reassure U.S. allies amid ongoing threats posed by Russia and China.
Bomber Task Forces, a longstanding U.S. Air Force practice, are expanding in size, scope and frequency, often extending to less visited parts of the globe such as the Arctic and parts of Western Asia. These Task Forces often include B-1s, B-52 and B-2 to demonstrate force and resolve, particularly in high-threat contested areas such as the South China Sea area parts of Eastern Europe.
“I’m pleased with the way we have approached it to get to places around the globe and show presence for partners and allies. We have implemented leaner logistics and faster turn times and done some good experiments. We are working with our partners and allies and putting a lot of focus on the Pacific and Europe to give us more reach. We have the highest bomber aircrew readiness in the history of the command,” said General Timothy Ray, Air Force Global Strike Command Commander.
B-1 bombers in Norway introduce new patrol opportunities to show force and presence in the Arctic region which is increasingly contested by major power rivals. Competitors such as Russia and China are looking to expand influence, gather or harvest natural resources and, perhaps most of all, gain unparalleled strategic advantage by establishing a tactical footprint with quick access to virtually all parts of the Northern Hemisphere.
Also, places like the South China Sea in the Pacific may present new opportunities for smaller, shorter, more targeted and tactically relevant BTFs, particularly in and around island areas where China continues to increase operation.