Thursday, June 21, 2007

Barksdale bombers to fly in Koa Lightning

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (AFPN) -- Four B-52 Stratofortress aircraft and aircrew from the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron deployed here from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., are scheduled to fly to Hawaii and back this week to participate in the latest Koa Lightning exercise.

The B-52s will fly more than 18 hours and 6,880 nautical miles non-stop to Hawaii and back while taking on more than 180,000 pounds of fuel during the flight mission.

The Pacific Command's Koa Lightning exercise will consist of air to air intercept training with F-15 Eagles based at Hickam AFB, Hawaii. The bomb squadron will have an opportunity to work with a wide variety of units and aircraft from the other branches of the U.S. military that will provide challenging scenarios designed to hone their combat edge thus enhancing the capability of providing the U.S. Pacific commander a continuous bomber presence to deter and dissuade any potential aggressor in the Pacific region.

During some of the missions, a single group of fighter aircraft will practice escorting the B-52s while another group of aircraft will practice intercepting the incoming bombers.

The continuous bomber presence at Andersen AFB is aimed at enhancing regional security, demonstrating U.S. commitment to the Pacific region, and providing integrated training opportunities for deployed Airmen. Besides bolstering security, the rotational deployment increases training opportunities that thoroughly integrate B-52 bomber operations into PACOM's joint and coalition exercises from forward bases such as Andersen, officials said.