B-52, B-1 and B-2 simultaneously conduct missions from Guam in unprecedented integrated bomber operation in Pacific

A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress, B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit taxi in preparation for an integrated bomber mission at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Aug.17, 2016. This mission marks the first time in history that all three of Air Force Global Strike Command's strategic bomber aircraft are simultaneously conducting integrated operations in the U.S. Pacific Command area of operations. As of Aug. 15, the B-1 Lancer will be temporarily deployed to Guam in support of U.S. Pacific Command's Continuous Bomber Presence mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Smoot)

History was made when all the Air Force Global Strike Command’s strategic power projection bombers simultaneously launched from Guam for their first integrated bomber operation in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

On Aug. 17, the U.S. Air Force bomber trio (B-52 Stratofortress, B-1B Lancer and B-2 Spirit) conducted the first coordinated operation in the U.S Pacific Command AOR (Area Of Operations). The three aircraft launched in sequence from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, performed a flyover and then dispersed to conduct simultaneous operations in the South China Sea and Northeast Asia.

The B-52 is part of the latest Stratofortress CBP (Continuous Bomber Presence) detachment to Guam: the aircraft, belonging to the 69th Bomb Squadron from Minot AFB, ND, are about to return stateside after a 6-month deployment. They will be replaced by the “several” B-1B Lancers that have deployed to Andersen on Aug. 6 to undertake the CBP mission in the Pacific.

The B-2 is one of the three stealth bombers with the 509th Bomb Wing that have arrived in Guam on Aug. 9, to conduct extended deterrence operations in the Indo-Asia-Pacific theater, where China is continuing its colonization of the disputed islands in the East and South China Seas.

Bomber trio over Guam 3

Missions like the one carried out on Aug. 17 are regularly conducted by the U.S. Air Force, even if these rarely involve all three different types of bombers: for instance, in 2014, the USAF launched a long-range mission with two B-52 Stratofortresses from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and two B-2 Spirit stealth bombers from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.

The strategic bombers flew a non-stop for more than 20 hours and covered about 8,000 miles from their home stations to drop ordnance against target located inside Hawaii’s Pohakuloa military weapon range: a coordinated range operation which included low approach training that enabled the air force to put their strategic force’s capability to plan, coordinate and execute such a complex mission with “the right mix” of attack platforms.

The bomber trio mission “demonstrated the U.S. commitment to supporting global security and our ability to launch a credible strategic defense force,” said Brig. Gen. Douglas Cox, the 36th Wing commander in an official statement.

“By doing this, we showed the world we can expertly integrate three different platforms with unique capabilities, meeting (Andersen AFB’s) mission by providing the president of the United States sovereign options to decisively employ airpower across the entire spectrum of engagement, thus achieving our wing’s motto, we are ‘prepared to prevail,’” Cox said.

In simple words, whilst the Air Force Global Strike Command emphasized that the routine deployments to Andersen AFB provide opportunities to train, share experiences and strengthen regional alliances, the truth is that the U.S. Air Force exploited the presence of the tri-bomber force in Guam to get some cool shots (like those in this post) and flex the muscles in the Pacific.


Image credit: U.S. Air Force

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. “History was made when all the Air Force Global Strike Command’s strategic power projection bombers simultaneously launched”
    “On Aug. 17, the U.S. Air Force bomber trio (B-52 Stratofortress, B-1B Lancer and B-2 Spirit) conducted the first coordinated operation in the U.S Pacific Command AOR (Area Of Operations). The three aircraft launched…”
    Didn’t know the yank’s GSC left with only 3 planes…
    That’s like in the jokes with albanian military:
    – The albanian navy was forced to stop operations!
    – Why?
    – Their paddle broke…

    • Could we get that in English? I take it you’re unaware the US has more than one of each aircraft?

    • Yes. We have 3 (soon to be 4) strategic bombers. Hows the RUAF GSC with only aircraft btw? Oh, pathetic…that’s right. And we have plenty of each. And carriers that are capable of nuclear strikes is necessary. And ICBMs. And SLBMs.You’re a dunce, enough with dragging everything wildly out of context (only 3 planes derp derp derp).

      The Russian Navy was forced to stop operations?
      Because their sub force is laughable in comparison. Most of the surface ships are littoral types and the big ones are continually followed around by a fucking tug, like Peter the Great, the Kuznetsov, and the Sovremennyy-class destroyers. (That was the punch line btw)

      Bout burned out on your propaganda superstar.

    • Really SU34… Yet you name yourself a plane that’s so Albanian as you put it that not even a full squadron operates at any one time?? Albanians learnt it from Russia

  2. Truly amazing show of force. B-2 is awesome!

    Unfortunately Guam is inside the range of DF-26 IRBM…the base will be wiped out in few minutes as dozen of those missiles rain down from the atmosphere at hypersonic speed..

    • There’s this thing called “THAAD” and another called “PAC-3”. Even more called “SM-3”.

        • And there’s a thing called “early ballistic missile warning” and a doctrine called dispersal and deployment.

          • Rotfl what do you think you can disperse over an airbase in a tiny island in the middle of an ocean..

      • The military also has this concept called, “salvos.” How many DF-26s need to be aimed at Guam to ensure its removal as a military threat? How difficult is it for China to make more? Or to blend an attack between low altitude supersonic cruise missiles and high altitude hypersonic penetrators? Success in conflicts in the future may well depend upon whichever side can manufacture and use more accurate missiles the fastest.

    • Your assuming those missiles would travel the full 3000 miles from China in a benign countermeasure environment. Not likely.

      • That’s why a saturation attack would be used…you just assume a lot of those warheads will be lost due to defenses, the lot remaining will do their work

  3. A blatant warning to China. It’s not only U.S. sub-launched cruise missiles and carrier aircraft that you have to worry about.

  4. I wonder how many officers got reamed by the Obama administration for daring to be anything but submissive?

  5. China will use this deployment to learn how well their skip radar works against stealthy and non-stealthy aircraft. Even ‘all aspect’ stealth objects will bounce a low angle emission of radar energy. Just not back at the emitter. But forward, to the mainland, the reflection can be detected by radar receivers. Can this generate targeting information? Now China will find out. And the longer USA continues these flights the more information China will learn about how to identify and track them. So an initial ‘warning’ to China via these US flights turns over in time to a deterioration of the advantage USA currently has, militarily, with China.

      • The Chinese radars are located on Chinese islands in the South China Sea. When the warplanes pass above them on their way to the Chinese coast, then China will learn how well its air defense system can identify and track stealth objects. I imagine the PLA also has radar picket ships which can perform the same function in locations where the Chinese do not already have islands.

Comments are closed.