FLYING Magazine

B-52 Stratofortress bombers have deployed to Guam as part of a strategic deterrence mission in the Indo-Pacific region aimed at “reinforcing the rules-based international order,” according to the U.S. Air Force.

The aircraft assigned to the 5th Bomb Wing from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, arrived at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in late January, deploying as part of a Bomber Task Force (BTF). They are designated to the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, which is integrated into joint exercises with allies and regional partners.

“Designed to showcase the U.S.’s ability to deter, deny, and dominate, BTF missions aim to influence and dissuade aggression from adversaries or competitors,” the Air Force said in a statement.

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The quarterly bilateral exercise—dubbed “Cope North 2024″—launches Monday and includes forces from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), Stars and Stripes reported.

RAAF deployed a C-27J Spartan multirole military transport aircraft along with 215 aviators to participate in Cope North, it said Monday.

“Exercise Cope North will provide training opportunities and invaluable experience for our people in a challenging scenario,” RAAF Task Group Commander, Group Captain Kylie Green said. “We are focused on deepening relationships with the United Pacific Air Forces and the [JASDF], and the participation of Canada, France and the Republic of Korea.”

A B-52H Stratofortress lands at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, on January 30. Bomber missions familiarize aircrew with air bases and operations in different Geographic Combatant Commands areas of operations. The aircraft is deployed from the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. [Courtesy: U.S. Air Force]

Exercise Cope North, which was originally established in 1978, is the U.S. Pacific Air Forces’ largest multilateral exercise.

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This year, an estimated 1,700 U.S. airmen, Marines, and sailors are expected to participate, as well as 700 service members from JASDF, RAAF, French Air and Space Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, and Republic of Korea Air Force. According to the U.S. Air Force, 85 aircraft are expected to fly 1,400 missions across three islands and six airfields.

Cope North 24 will conclude February 23.

The BUFF is here as part of a Bomber Task Force to support strategic deterrence missions aimed at reinforcing the rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific region. #FreeandOpenIndoPacific@usairforce | @INDOPACOM | @AFGlobalStrike | @TeamMinot https://t.co/F1VP7BW1SA pic.twitter.com/rDIf2Ye2gg

— PACAF (@PACAF) February 2, 2024

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