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B-1 joins the fight against ISIS, Taliban

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Joshua Horton
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
A B-1B Lancer from the 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, assigned to the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, departed from the flight line here April 8 to conduct its first combat mission in the U.S. Air Force Central Command's area of operations since 2016.

Passing the torch to the 34th EBS are the Airmen of the 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, who are returning home as the last squadron to fly the B-52 Stratofortress in the airframe’s two-year assignment here.

“The squadron is extremely excited to be back in the AOR,” said Lt. Col. Timothy Griffith, 34th EBS commander. “It’s a mission we've spent years training for — to deliver kinetic airpower to degrade and defeat violent extremists.”

According to Griffith, the B-1s flown by the 34th EBS have been outfitted with new features replacing antiquated technology present since the jet’s inception. Cockpit modifications provide enhanced situational awareness to the aircrew and enable incorporation into the Link 16 network. This allows them to digitally communicate with the Combined Air Operations Center and other airborne and ground based weapons systems.

“This B-1 that we’re bringing back to the fight is different than any other B-1 that has deployed here before,” Griffith said. “It’s the first time this upgraded aircraft is going to be employed in combat and we're honored and humbled to lead the B-1 community back into the AOR. We have had an extremely focused and disciplined training program designed to ensure all our Airmen are trained and ready to employ the upgraded B-1 in combat."

The highly versatile B-1 carries the largest conventional payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the Air Force inventory and will support Operations INHERENT RESOLVE and FREEDOM'S SENTINEL.