Responding to the recent nuclear test by North Korea — the second such test this year — two U.S. Air Force B-1B strategic bombers from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, conducted training with fighter aircraft from the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) and a low-level flight with fighter aircraft from the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States.
In the vicinity of Japan, the B-1Bs conducted fighter interception training with two F-2 fighters from JASDF to enhance operational capabilities and the tactical skills of units, according to a release from U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM).
Later in the flight, the JASDF and the ROK fighters conducted a hand-off of the U.S. B-1Bs in international airspace. Following the handoff, the B-1Bs and ROK F-15 fighter aircraft and U.S. F-16 fighter aircraft conducted a low-level flight in the vicinity of Osan, South Korea. Upon completion of the flight over Korea, the B-1Bs returned to Guam.
The sequenced flights with Japan and ROK is the latest demonstration of the strength of the bilateral alliances between the United States and Japan and the Republic of Korea, and the broadening cooperation by the three nations in working to defend the respective homelands from threats posed by North Korea. Headquartered in Hawaii, U.S. Pacific Command is responsible for all U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps forces over half the earth's surface, stretching from the waters off the west coast of North America to the western border of India, and from Antarctica to the North Pole.