WASHINGTON — The United States deployed a pair of B-1B Lancer bombers to Turkey’s Incirlik air base on Tuesday for excercises as Israel’s war in Gaza threatens to reshape the Middle East’s geopolitical landscape.
The bombers, launched from the Royal Air Force base at Fairford in the United Kingdom, are assigned to the US Air Force’s 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron. The Lancers took part in a “hot-pitting” refueling exercise while on the runway in Turkey, US European Command stated.
The practice enables ground crews to refuel the bombers without pilots disabling the engines for rapid further deployment during wartime missions.
EUCOM said the B-1B deployment was “long-planned” to “demonstrate the US’ readiness” and “showcase the nation’s ability to project US airpower around the globe.” The B-1Bs also trained with Turkish Joint Terminal Attack Controllers, KC-135R refueling tankers and conducted a close air support exercise with Turkish F-16s before departing.