Why has the United States deployed four B-1B Lancer supersonic strategic bombers at the Morón base?

Two US Air Force B-1B Lancers bombers assigned to the 7th Bomb Wing, based at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, They arrived at the Sevillian air base of Morón de la Fronterato begin the next phase of the Bomber Task Force 24-2 (BTF 24-2) exercise, on March 24, 2024. These two bombers were joined by two others that arrived this week, making a total of four.whose mission was to complete the last phase of the Bomber Task Force 24-2 exercise.

The bombers entered the European Command Theater of Operations, crossing the Barents Sea. Throughout the missions, US aircraft operated in international airspace and in full compliance with international law.

B-1B Lancer bombers at the Morón baseUSAF

The B-1B Lancer, used by the United States for its attack against pro-Iranian positions in Iraq and Syria, is a long-range heavy strategic bomber that can carry the largest conventional load of guided and unguided weapons in the USAF inventory. This multi-mission aircraft is the backbone of the United States' long-range bomber force. It can rapidly launch massive quantities of precision and non-precision weapons against any adversary, anywhere in the world, at any time.

It is a four-engine variable geometry wing, used by the USAF since 1986. Initially conceived in the 1960s as a supersonic bomber with sufficient range and payload capacity to replace the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, finally in the 1980s. It was developed mainly for low-level raids, with long range and high-altitude supersonic flight capabilities.

Designed by Rockwell International, development of this bomber was delayed multiple times throughout its history as the theory of strategic balance changed from flexible response to mutually assured destruction and back again. After the construction of just four prototypes of a first version, the B-1A, the project was cancelled, which resurfaced a few years later, with the B-1B version in 1980, designed primarily for low-level incursion bombing. It entered service in 1986 with the USAF Strategic Air Command as a nuclear bomber.

One of its main advantages is its ability to carry weapons: its three bomb bays in its fuselage can carry 34,000 kg of bombs or missiles. Additionally, each of these holds can be equipped with rotating launchers. As if that were not enough, it also has six external supports in which it can load 23,000 more kilos of weapons.

In the 1990s, the B-1B was modified for use as a conventional bomber. It first saw combat during Operation Desert Fox in 1998 and then in the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia the following year. The B-1B continued to support US and NATO military forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In 1999, six B-1s were employed in Operation Allied Force, the Atlantic Alliance operation against Yugoslavia, delivering more than 20% of the total ordnance while flying less than 2% of the combat sorties. During the first six months of Operation Enduring Freedom, launched by the United States and its allies against Afghanistan after 9/11, eight B-1s dropped nearly 40% of the total tonnage delivered by coalition air forces. This included almost 3,900 JDAMs. In Operation Iraqi Freedom, the aircraft flew less than 1% of combat missions, while delivering 43% of used JDAMs.

The B-1 Lancer is the supersonic component of the USAF's long-range bomber force, alongside the subsonic B-52 Stratofortress and B-2 Spirit. The B-1 is usually called “Bone” (originally “B-One”). Following the retirement of the General Dynamics/Grumman EF-111A Raven in 1998 and the Grumman F-14 Tomcat in 2006, the B-1B is the only variable geometry wing aircraft active in the United States Armed Forces.

Its minimum swept wing configuration (extended wings) is used for takeoffs, landings and maintaining normal cruising speed at high altitudes. The maximum arrow configuration is used to achieve transonic and supersonic speeds, at high and low altitudes, increasing its maneuverability, fuel economy at high speed and surprise capacity, in deep penetration attacks at low altitudes.

It consists of four crew members in a 2+2 position: pilot, co-pilot, offensive systems officer and defensive systems, radar and electronic countermeasures officer; with three internal weapons cargo holds, two behind the cockpit, under the central fuselage and another between the engines, with rotating missile and bomb launchers, designed to launch a wide variety of conventional free-fall missiles and bombs, guided by laser and GPS satellite.))

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Advanced position in Europe

“Our ability to maneuver through the Arctic and forward-position strategic bombers in Europe is key to assuring our allies and partners of our commitment to regional security and stability,” said Gen. James Hecker, commander of the US Air Force. US in Europe – African Air Forces. and NATO Allied Air Command. “The global security environment requires a progressive approach and we will continue to meet this challenge through strategic planning and innovative operations.”

During the development of BTF 24-2 in northern Europe, B-1Bs joined aircraft from allied nations to conduct an intercontinental redeployment of the Bomber Force from Luleå-Kallax Air Base, Sweden, to the Ellsworth Air Force, South Dakota, in support of Global Guardian, Feb. 29, 2024. At various intervals of the mission in northern Europe, lThe bombers were accompanied by a number of aircraft, including refueling aircraft and fighters, from Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom.. The exercise Global Guardian was a culminating event of Bomber Task Force 24-2the first deployment of strategic bombers within the framework of the Large-Scale Global Exercise 2024.

This mission showcases continued dynamic U.S. operations throughout the European and Arctic region, adapting to the evolving security environment alongside allies and partners.

BTF 24-2 is a routine part of Global Large Scale Exercise 2024an umbrella term that incorporates dozens of separate military exercises and activities, under multiple combatant commands, that enable the U.S. Joint Force to train with allies and partners and improve understanding and interoperability with its allies.

The bombers and support personnel carried out a series of missions to train alongside allies and partners during the deployment. Through these missions from Morón, the dynamic employment of forces in the European theater is enabled, providing strategic predictability and security for allies and partners, while contributing to deterrence by introducing greater operational unpredictability for potential adversaries.

On this deployment, bomber crews and support personnel have carried out base sorties and operated alongside allied forces to increase interoperability and ensure security commitments across the European Command's area of ​​responsibility. USA. In this way, the USAF demonstrates its commitment to NATO allies and partners with missions such as BTF, through which US, European and African air forces rehearse dynamic force employment in European theaterproviding strategic predictability and security for allies and partners, while contributing to deterrence by introducing greater operational unpredictability for potential adversaries.

Regular and routine deployments of US strategic bombers also provide critical touchpoints to train and operate alongside allies and partners, while bolstering a collective response to any global conflict, US Air Force sources explain.

These aircraft would be joined by the presence of several A10C Thunderbolt II Warthogs from the US Air Force at the Rota Naval Air Base, according to images uploaded by several users on their social networks. This legendary device is a single-seat, twin-jet, straight-wing ground attack aircraft, developed in the United States by the Fairchild-Republic company in the early 1970s. It was designed at the request of the USAF to provide close air support to ground troops. by attacking tanks, armored vehicles and other ground targets. Although it has already begun its retirement in several units, it is still active.