JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii, July 8, 2017 —
As part of the continuing demonstration of the U.S. commitment to its allies against the growing threat from North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programs, two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, conducted a 10-hour sequenced bilateral mission yesterday with South Korean and Japanese fighter jets.
The mission is in response to a series of increasingly escalatory actions by North Korea, including the July 3 launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, officials said.
"North Korea's actions are a threat to our allies, partners and homeland," said Air Force Gen. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, Pacific Air Forces commander. "Let me be clear, if called upon we are trained, equipped and ready to unleash the full lethal capability of our allied air forces."
The B-1B's flew to the Korean Peninsula, where they were joined by South Korean F-15 fighter jets and U.S. Air Force F-16 fighters. The B-1B's practiced attack capabilities by releasing inert weapons at the Pilsung Range.
Preserving Region's Security
"U.S. bombers and Republic of Korea fighters are just two of many lethal military options at our disposal," said Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas W. Bergeson, U.S. Forces Korea deputy commander. The mission clearly demonstrates that the U.S.-South Korea alliance remains prepared to use the full range of capabilities to defend and to preserve the security of the Korean Peninsula and region, he added.
En route back to Guam, the B-1B's flew and integrated with Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-2 fighter jets over the East China Sea.
"The U.S.-Japan alliance and the relationship between our militaries are stronger than they have ever been," said Air Force Lt. Gen. Jerry P. Martinez, U.S. Forces Japan commander. "We continue to train with our Japanese allies to ensure we are ready to defend ourselves from attack."
U.S. Pacific Command maintains flexible bomber and jet fighter capabilities in the Indo-Asia-Pacific theater, retaining the ability to quickly respond to any regional threat to defend the U.S. homeland and in support of U.S. allies, officials said.
(From a Pacific Air Forces news release.)