FLYING Magazine

An Air Force B-1 Lancer bomber flew a mission in the Middle East on Wednesday—the second one in less than a week, according to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).

“On November 8, 2023, and for the second time in three days, a U.S. B-1 Lancer conducted a mission over the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. U.S. F-16s escorted the bomber,” CENTCOM said on X, formerly Twitter.

Earlier in the week, CENTCOM confirmed that the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group had arrived in the Middle East, as well as B-1 operations in the region. In a released photo, an Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker, assigned to the 912th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, was shown preparing the aerial refueling of a bomber in an “undisclosed location” in the region.

On November 5, a U.S. Air Force B-1 Lancer begins 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. [Courtesy: Department of Defense]

“The Bomber Task Force mission enhances the high-end readiness of the bomber force by advancing interoperability with other regional allies and partners,” CENTCOM said in a statement.

The flyover comes as U.S. forces positioned in the region continue to come under attack.

B-1 operations in the region, however, were “long planned” according to a Pentagon spokesperson.

“It’s important to differentiate the Bomber Task Force mission from the current situation in the Middle East,” Air Force Brigadier General Patrick Ryder, Pentagon press secretary, said Monday, Air and Space Forces reported.

Between October 7 and November 7, U.S. forces in the region have been attacked at least 40 times, according to the Pentagon. The attacks were a mix of one-way drones and rockets, 22 of which were in Iraq and 18 in Syria.

“I would say that while we are seeing an uptick in attacks, our purpose is to ensure that this conflict doesn’t widen out beyond Israel,” Sabrina Singh, deputy Pentagon press secretary, told reporters Tuesday. 

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