U.S. B-1B bombers and multiple Allied fighter jets escorted flying along the waters near Iran to perform the mission of “showing prestige” in the area.
The B-1B Lancer bomber flew continuously for 5 hours on October 30, flying over the Gulf of Aden, the Strait of Mande, the Red Sea, the Suez Canal, the Arabian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, and the Gulf of Oman. The Pentagon said in a statement today that Iran borders.
This is a multilateral mission involving multinational air forces. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Israel have deployed fighter jets to escort the US strategic bombers during multiple stages of the journey.
The photos released by the US Air Force show that the B-1B is escorted by Saudi and Israeli F-15 heavy fighters, and Bahrain and Egypt’s F-16 light fighters. Experts said that this was a rare flight, performing an “existence patrol” mission aimed at showing prestige as tensions in the Iranian nuclear program escalated.
The B-1B Lancer is considered to be a bomber that plays the role of the US “deterrent messenger” and is often deployed in hot spots such as Iran and North Korea for deterrence. The B-1B can carry 57 tons of weapons, twice the size of the B-52 or B-2 Spirit, and is the largest aircraft in the US strategic bomber trio today.
At the beginning of last month, the B-1B bomber of the class was deployed to the forward airport of Diego Garcia Island in the Indian Ocean. This was the first time the aircraft was deployed there in 15 years.
Diego Garcia Island is strategically located, enabling the US Air Force to respond to many emergencies and conduct training and patrol flights to the Middle East, Africa and the Western Pacific.
The tension between the United States and Iran remains high, which is related to the acceleration of nuclear programs by Middle Eastern countries. The administration of President Joe Biden still hopes that Washington and Tehran will renew their compliance with the Iran nuclear agreement, but insists it will not wait indefinitely. US Secretary of State Anthony Brinken said that if Iran cannot be persuaded, all options will be on the table.
Israel also approved a $1.5 billion budget last month to purchase necessary equipment to prepare for an air strike against Iran’s nuclear program. The funds will be used to equip fighter jets, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and weapons designed to destroy underground bunkers.
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