Two United States Air Force B-1B Lancer aircraft from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, carried out a Bomber Task Force mission to Morocco and Mauritania on 30 June in support of Exercise African Lion 2022 and counter-illicit maritime efforts.
The mission, which lasted more than 25 hours, supported the culminating live fire exercise for African Lion 2022, and then went on to support counter illicit maritime tracking efforts in Mauritania before returning to Texas, US Africa Command (Africom) said.
Over Morocco, the B-1B aircraft were joined by Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16s and F-5s to conduct an interoperability demonstration including the employment of an inert weapon from a B-1B as part of exercise African Lion 22.
African Lion is US Africa Command’s premier annual exercise, involving 7 500 service members from US and partner nations. The exercise bolsters interoperability among partner nations and supports US military readiness to respond to crises in Africa and around the world, Africom said.
After supporting African Lion, the B-1Bs flew south to Mauritania, where they worked with the Mauritanian Coast Guard to identify and track illegally operating vessels off the coast, such as those conducting illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing.
Illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing depletes fishers throughout Africa’s coast countries, threatens maritime security, and endangers the African economies that rely on the ocean for their food and trade. US Africa Command assists African partner nations’ efforts to safeguard continued, sustainable use of maritime resources and enable maritime trade, it said.
“Mauritania and US Africa Command have a longstanding relationship that includes bilateral cooperation, including this Bomber Task Force mission as well as a similar mission that took place in February 2022. This type of collaboration builds shared maritime domain awareness that allows our partners to better target those areas for law enforcement actions,” Africom stated.
Similarly, in 7 September 2020, two USAF B-52s—call-signs “Bush 11” and “Bush 12” from the US Strategic Command, flew south to the Mediterranean Sea in support of US Africa Command interoperability training mission.
The bombers linked up with four Moroccan air force F-16s to demonstrate maritime interdiction capabilities by hunting and intercepting the USS Roosevelt, which simulated a hostile vessel.