CENTCOM, Israel team up in joint Bomber Task Force mission

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A US Air Force B-1 Lancer departs after aerial refueling from a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 912th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron while conducting a Bomber Task Force mission over the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, June 8, 2023.

The statement did not specifically mention Iran or any other adversary, but it is well-known that Israel and the US have been displaying their power projection capabilities to the Islamic Republic

The US Commander of all CENTCOM’s air forces, Lt.-Gen. Alex Grynkewich, on Thursday announced that his forces had joined with coalition forces in the Middle East region, including Israel, for a Bomber Task Force mission.

Grynkewich’s statement did not specifically mention Iran or any other adversary, but it is well-known that Israel and the US have been displaying their power projection capabilities to the Islamic Republic to try to deter Tehran from crossing the nuclear threshold and from carrying out other destabilizing activities.

According to Grynkewich, “These bomber missions represent the US’s commitment to our partners and showcase our ability to deliver overwhelming power at a moment’s notice.”

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“Together we are operationalizing concepts designed to make us more agile in our execution, more strategic in our deterrence and more resilient in our capability. Today was a demonstration of that capability and the strength of our partnerships,” said the CENTCOM air force commander.

Next, he said, “Not only are we integrating seamlessly in the air, but we are operating across domains in new and innovative ways. This particular BTF was historic in that it was the first time we flew multiple weapons types and practiced employment against multiple simulated targets.”

US Air Force Maj. Tim Payne, 912th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron pilot, runs a checklist on a KC-135 Stratotanker while in support of a Bomber Task Force mission over the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, June 8, 2023. (credit: CENTCOM, US military)
US Air Force Maj. Tim Payne, 912th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron pilot, runs a checklist on a KC-135 Stratotanker while in support of a Bomber Task Force mission over the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, June 8, 2023. (credit: CENTCOM, US military)

More specifically, he said, “During the exercise we employed live GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions as well as a live AGM-158A Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM).”

“The events demonstrate our ability – in concert with our partners – to employ overwhelming strike capabilities whenever and wherever required,” concluded Grynkewich.

Similar bomber task force mission last March 

The last similar bomber task force mission took place in March, in which the B-52H strategic bomber integrated with several coalition fighter escort aircraft from seven nations as they traversed portions of the CENTCOM area of responsibility, showcasing the ability to rapidly deploy integrated airpower across the region.

In January, Israel and CENTCOM conducted possibly their largest joint drill ever, known as Juniper Oak.

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