Three B-1 bombers from the 37th Bomb Squadron, stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota took off in the early hours of April 4 on a ten-hour bombing mission to Fort Yukon, Alaska as part of a complex long-range Strategic Command “anti-access” bombing mission dubbed Operation Chimichanga.
The exercise, starting with a simulated warning order to bomb targets in a classified country, included multiple live fly participants and command and control elements, finishing with battle damage assessment and an after action report.
Participants included F-22 Raptors and E-3 AWAC command and control aircraft assigned to the Alaskan 3rd Wing, along with F-16s from Misawa AB, Japan, and KC-135 aerial refuelers from Eielson AFB, Alaska.
F-22s and F-16s escorted the B-1s “into an anti-access target area,” said Lt. Col. Joseph Kunkel, 90th Fighter Squadron commander.
It was also the first time that increment 3.1, an air-to-ground bombing software upgrade was used on F-22’s, which also acted as follow-on forces, to assess B-1 bomb damage at the target and follow with an immediate restrike.
The B-1 bombers were also carrying new long-range radar evading AGM-158 joint air-surface standoff missile (JASSMs).
North Korea or Iran, take your pick.