US Air Force & Coalition Partners Conduct Middle East Bomber Task Force Mission

A B-52H Stratofortress involved in aerial refuelling during a BTF mission in the Middle East.
Photo Credit: USAF / Staff Sgt. Shannon Bowman

LONDON – Two B-52H Stratofortress operating from RAF Fairford in the UK have joined United States ground and naval units, as well as coalition and regional partner air forces in a Bomber Task Force (BTF) mission last weekend.


The two aircraft flew over the Eastern Mediterranean, Arabian Peninsula and Red Sea before departing the region. The mission also involved fighter escorts from the Royal Air Force and the Air Forces of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Senior national representatives of 16 coalition nations, led by the Canadian SNR, Royal Canadian Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Terry Wong, enhanced logistical support for this BTF iteration.

The multinational coalition operation aimed to heighten regional stability and to remain postured and ready to defend U.S., coalition and allied forces and interests in the region.

The BTF theater integration training and operations involved a variety of US Air Force, partner and ally aircraft, including F-15/18, RJ-135, E-3, KC-135/10/46, FGR-4, and A-330.

Photo: A B-52H Stratofortress assigned to the 23rd Bomb Squadron descends after receiving air refuelling support from a KC-10. Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force by Staff Sgt. Shannon Bowman.

“This Bomber Task Force is a strong, clear representation of enduring U.S. commitment to the region,” said Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich9th Air Force (Air Forces Central) commander.

“In addition to maintaining a sufficient, sustainable force posture, AFCENT is able — in concert with our partners — to rapidly inject overwhelming combat power into the region on demand.”

“Threats to the U.S. and our partners will not go unanswered. Missions like this BTF showcase our ability to combine forces to deter and, if necessary, defeat our adversaries.”

“Communication is critical,” said Wong, who also serves as the Combined Air Operations Center deputy director of Combat Operations.

“By enhancing lines of communication, we are able to establish a clear and direct line in real time amongst the Air Operations Centers of all nations participating. This allows us to work towards a common goal and leads to mission success.”

The mission was a joint air, land and sea operation, and units from Army Central simulated firepower from the ground. This collaboration allowed Army and Air Force entities to practice safe and effective joint fires employment.

A US Air Force B52 overflying an oil tanker.

Photo: A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress, assigned to the 5th Bomb Wing, conducts a Bomber Task Force mission with coalition and regional partners. Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force by Staff Sgt. Chad Fultz


“This kind of operation demonstrates the collective capabilities of the military partnership we’ve developed in the Middle East,” said Army Gen. Michael Kurilla, USCENTCOM commander.

“We have the ability to put a significant measure of combat power in the air alongside our partners very quickly. We can do the same on the ground and at sea.”

The last Bomber Task Force mission which operated in the Middle East was earlier this year in June 2022. CENTCOM has facilitated four BTF missions in 2022 and state that these are a demonstration of U.S. commitment to their coalition partners and to the peaceful stability in the region.

About the author

Len Varley

A former Chief Pilot/Chief Flying Instructor, Len has 35 years experience in diverse aviation roles. Speaks fluent Australian & English! Len is the Assistant Editor for AviationSource.

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