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News | June 8, 2023

USAFCENT flexes air-to-ground capabilities in historic first for BTF

By Master Sgt. Amanda Sampson Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central) Public Affairs

Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central) aircraft joined 2 B-1B Lancers over the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, along with five partner nations and other coalition forces, during a Bomber Task Force mission, June 8.

This particular BTF mission was historic in that it was the first time AFCENT flew multiple weapons types and practiced employment against multiple simulated targets during a single bomber task force mission.

The B-1B Lancers, assigned to Dyess Air Force Base’s 9th Bomb Squadron and currently forward deployed to the U.S. European Command area of responsibility, took off from Royal Air Force Fairford in the United Kingdom to join various fighter coalition forces throughout the CENTCOM region.

During the BTF, the bombers employed live GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions, as well as a live AGM-158A Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile.

“These bomber missions represent the U.S.’s commitment to our partners and showcase our ability to deliver overwhelming power at a moment’s notice,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich, Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central) commander, and Combined Forces Air Component Commander for U.S. Central Command. “Together, we are operationalizing concepts designed to make us more agile in our execution, more strategic in our deterrence, and more resilient in our capability.

“Today was a demonstration of that capability and the strength of our partnerships.”

Exercises like the BTF enhance U.S. interoperability with partner nations to deter regional aggression while promoting peace and stability in the Middle East.