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USAF deploys Bomber Task Force to UK

One of a reported two B-1B Lancer bombers arriving in the UK on 6 September. (US Air Force)

The United States has deployed Rockwell B-1B Lancer bombers to the United Kingdom, with the Bomber Task Force (BTF) arriving at Royal Air Force (RAF) Fairford in Gloucestershire on 6 October.

Aircraft and personnel from the 9th Expeditionary Bomber Squadron at Dyess Air Forces Base (AFB) in Texas arrived at RAF Fairford for a “long-planned Bomber Task Force mission, a regularly scheduled US European Command [USEUCOM] and US Strategic Command joint mission series”, the USAF said.

“USEUCOM has been conducting BTF missions since 2018, which have consisted of rotations of B-1B Lancers, [Boeing] B-52H Stratofortresses, and, most recently, Northrop Grumman B-2A Spirits. The series of US Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa missions allow US bomber crews to deploy to unfamiliar airfields and integrate with a range of coalition allies and partners to enhance readiness,” it added.

The USAF did not disclose how many B-1Bs were deployed, but online flight tracker websites monitored two aircraft arriving at RAF Fairford under the callsign ‘Remus'.

Having recently retired 17 of its older model aircraft, the USAF fields 45 B-1B Lancer bombers, the first of which entered service in 1985. Now used exclusively in the conventional strike role, the supersonic B-1B can carry up to 48 500 lb Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bombs, as well as other precision guided weaponry.

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