A B-1 bomber flew with aircraft from four U.S. partner nations Oct. 30 as it circled the Arabian Peninsula during a bomber task force mission.
F-15s from Saudi Arabia and Israel and F-16s from Bahrain and Egypt escorted the bomber during a five-hour mission that “originated in the Indian Ocean, flew over the Gulf of Aden, Bab el-Mandeb Strait, Red Sea, Suez Canal, Arabian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and the Gulf of Oman,” according to a press release from U.S. Central Command. At least one American KC-10 also participated in the exercise.
“We are stronger together,” Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., head of CENTCOM, said in a statement. “Military readiness for any contingency or mission—from crisis response to multilateral exercises to one-day presence patrols like this—depend on reliable partnerships.”
The Saudi Arabian and Israeli air forces also took to social media to feature images and videos from the mission.
While Central Command’s press release did not specify where the B-1 flew from in the Indian Ocean, B-1Bs and Airmen from the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., recently deployed to Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean for the first time in 15 years as part of a bomber task force mission. Diego Garcia is located more than 2,000 miles from the Arabian Peninsula.
This marks the fifth “presence patrol” mission U.S. bombers have undertaken in the Central Command area of responsibility this year. It is the first since March and the first to involve a B-1. In January, B-52s flew over the Middle East on three occasions, followed by another mission in March.
The Air Force introduced bomber task forces in 2020 as an alternative to continuous bomber presences outside the continental U.S. In addition to the B-1Bs at Diego Garcia, B-1s from 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron of Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, deployed to RAF Fairford, England, in October as part of a bomber task force for U.S. Air Forces in Europe.