SOUTHWEST ASIA, Dec. 10, 2020 —
A pair of U.S. Air Force B-52H "Stratofortresses" assigned to the Barksdale Air Force Base-headquartered 2nd Bomb Wing operated in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility with other U.S. Air Force and regional partner aircraft in the second mission in as many months.
The short-notice, non-stop mission was designed to underscore the U.S. military’s commitment to its regional partners, while also validating the ability to rapidly deploy combat power anywhere in the world, said the senior commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East.
"The ability to fly strategic bombers halfway across the world in a non-stop mission, and to rapidly integrate them with multiple regional partners demonstrates our close working relationships and our shared commitment to regional security and stability," said U.S. Central Command’s (CENTCOM) commander, Gen. Frank McKenzie.
While assuring allies and partners, the mission was also designed to deter aggression.
"Potential adversaries should understand that no nation on earth is more ready and capable of rapidly deploying additional combat power in the face of any aggression," said McKenzie.
"Our ability to work together as partners on a mission like this heightens our collective readiness to respond to any crisis or contingency."
The U.S. Air Force routinely flies a variety of aircraft and units throughout the Middle East, which is one way that CENTCOM promotes regional security. Temporary long-range bomber deployments into the region can be traced back to at least 2015.
Aircrews use transponders and operate in conformity with international law, including with due regard for the safety of navigation of aircraft during every flight, and coordinate with relevant nations.
"We do not seek conflict," McKenzie said, "but we must remain postured and committed to respond to any contingency or in opposition to any aggression."