PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii --- U.S. Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force units sharpened their combat skills July 6 during a bilateral mission over the East China Sea.
Using Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, as a power-projection platform, two B-1B Lancers assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron deployed from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, flew a mission over the East China Sea with their Japanese counterparts.
While bilateral operations like this have become increasingly routine, Pacific Air Forces officials said, this mission marked the first time U.S. Pacific Command-directed B-1B Lancers have conducted combined training with Japanese fighters at night.
Participating in bilateral training enables the operational units to improve their combined capabilities and tactical skills, while also building bilateral confidence and strong working relationships.
"Flying and training at night with our allies in a safe, effective manner is an important capability shared between the U.S. and Japan," said Air Force Maj. Ryan Simpson, Pacific Air Forces chief of bomber operations. The B-1B's proceeded to the South China Sea before returning to Andersen Air Force Base.
Freedom of Navigation
The mission demonstrates how the United States will continue to exercise the rights of freedom of navigation anywhere international law allows, officials said, noting that these actions are consistent with long-standing and well-known U.S. policies that are applied to military operations around the world.
"This is a clear demonstration of our ability to conduct seamless operations with all of our allies," Simpson said.
U.S. joint military forces in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region are always ready to defend the American homeland, officials said. These flights with Japan, they added, demonstrate the solidarity between Japan and the United States to defend against provocative and destabilizing actions in the Pacific theater.