Two B-1B Lancer strategic bombers conducted a training mission over the Middle East. In addition to training American and allied crews, this mission is also a show of force in a highly unstable region.
A mission in the Middle East
On November 5, 2023, two US Air Force B-1B Lancer strategic bombers conducted a training mission. This announcement may seem banal because since the deterioration of the geostrategic situation in Eastern Europe, the US Air Force has been deploying, in rotation for several months, B-1B Lancer, B-52H Stratoforteress and B-2A Spirit strategic bombers. on Europe. However, the November 5 mission was an exception to the rule: the Lancers were placed under the control of Central Command (CENTCOM). As a reminder, the American forces deployed in Europe are placed under the unified command of European Command (EUCOM) while the forces located in Central Asia, part of South Asia… and above all, in the Middle East are placed under the control of CENTCOM.
As specified in CENTCOM publication X below, this training mission also had a deterrent effect:
“(…) The mission was designed to strengthen interoperability between the United States and its partners while demonstrating the ability of the American Armed Forces to respond to crises and contingencies in all theaters.”
At least one aerial refueling was carried out, thanks to a KC-135 Stratotanker. Thus, while the regional situation is very tense, CENTCOM recalls that it can, if necessary, use these devices in order to eliminate any significant threat. Finally, in-flight refueling also demonstrates that these aircraft can come from Europe, but also directly from the United States. The USAF has already proven its long-range strike capability in the past, using multiple tankers to enable multiple strategic bombers to strike targets in the Middle East or southwest Asia.