B-1B Lancer and Japanese F-15

The US Air Force conducted an exercise near the Korean Peninsula on Thursday involving two B-1B bombers and Japanese and South Korean fighter jets.

“The bilateral continuous bomber presence (CBP) mission was planned in advance … and was not in response to any current event,” the Air Force said in a statement.

North Korea called it a “surprise” strike drill — and they might not be incorrect.

The Pentagon has actually devised a plan to take out the North’s missile sites just in case President Donald Trump ever orders the preemptive strike, and the B-1B Lancers would a play a key role.

Here’s what we know about the plan and about what the Lancer can do.

SEE ALSO: 3 US carriers are now in the Pacific amid tensions with North Korea — here’s what they bring with them

The B-1B Lancer is a long-range, multi-role heavy bomber that was developed in the 1970s as a replacement for the B-52.

Source: US Air Force

The B-1B Lancer, which was first used in combat in 1998, was heavily used in Operation Iraqi Freedom during the Iraq War, dropping nearly 40% of all the coalition’s munitions.

The Lancer, which is made by Boeing — one of the largest defense contractors and political donors in the US — will continue to be the backbone of the US strategic bomber force until about 2040.

Its four General Electric F101-GE-102 turbofan engines each provide the Lancer with more than 30,000 pounds of thrust.

Source: US Air Force

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