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Game on: USAF wargames strengthening Indo-Pacific alliances

Although USAF B-1B Lancers have previously landed in India, they had not participated in wargames over the Indian subcontinent prior to Exercise ‘Cope India 23'. In this photograph, two Lancers of the 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron sit at the Kempegowda International Airport, Bangalore, during the Aero India 2023 show held in February. (US Air Force/Master Sgt Richard Ebensberger)

The debut deployment of US Air Force (USAF) Rockwell B-1B Lancer strategic bombers in India for a combat exercise focuses attention once again on Washington's attempts to bolster allied military capabilities across the region.

According to the US Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), two B-1Bs from the US 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron deployed to southern India on 13 April from Ellsworth Air Force Base in the United States to support ‘Cope India 23', an exercise involving other USAF aircraft and major units from the Indian Air Force (IAF). Also present were members of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) as observers.

USAF B-1s had earlier landed in India for participation in the Aero India 2023 show in Bangalore. However, such aircraft had not previously participated in a military exercise with the IAF.

“The B-1 will integrate with other USAF and IAF fighter and transport aircraft to promote interoperability between the two air forces,” a PACAF spokesperson told Janes. “The intent is to strengthen our co-operation and learn from each other's best practices.”

Based on public disclosures by various regional governments and the USAF, Janes

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