U.S. military after years sign of the maintenance challenges facing budget cuts. The US Air Force bombers that flew to South Korea from Guam on Wednesday was forced to leave behind its wingman.
South Korea Wednesday, dramatic photos show an US Air Force supersonic bomber with allied fighter jets in formation.
“We only had a 30-minute launch window to meet the tanker,” while flying from Guam to South Korea
The B-1B was taking part in the annual “Vigilant ACE” air exercises which includ fifth-generation F-22 and F-35 stealth fighter jets for the first time. Overall, more than 230 aircraft between the United States and South Korea are taking part in the five-day exercise which concludes Friday.
Due to this American bomber was not the only glitch this week for the U.S. Air Force. A state-of-the-art F-22 stealth fighter jet was towed from the runway after landing in South Korea this week. Although the Air Force later found no problems with the aircraft.
B-1B bombers were able to carry out its training mission Wednesday. It falls roughly in line with the mission capability rates of the Air Force’s B-1 fleet. Today, only about half the B-1s in the inventory can fly. The Air Force is nearly 2,000 pilots and about 4,000 aircraft mechanics short. Spare parts are hard to come by for the bomber that first entered service in the 1980s.
US Air Force bombers Plan in action
Twenty years ago, B-1s averaged roughly 1,000 flight hours on their air frames. Today, that number in many cases exceeds 10,000 hours.
Two B-1 bombers were suppose launch from Ellsworth Air Force Base to fly nearly 1,000 miles. South to White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico for a live-fire exercise.
One of the two B-1s that taxied to the runway was able to take off and make the training mission on time. The other sat near the runway for two hours.
Though it eventually take off but was unable to participate in the live-fire exercise and diverted to a different mission, its crew missing out on valuable training at White Sands.
It is not immediately clear why a spare bomber not available from Guam to complete the training mission.
There are only six B-1B bombers currently deploy one unable to complete the mission.