Media Note: U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Underscored with Return of B-1B Lancer Heavy Bombers at Aero India 2023

Media Note:

On Tuesday, February 14, the United States Air Force (USAF) expanded its lineup for Aero India 2023 with the arrival of two B-1B Lancers after a journey to India from their temporary duty location at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. 

The B-1B Lancer, a supersonic heavy bomber, is a truly remarkable aircraft, capable of carrying out missions worldwide from its bases in the United States, as well as from forward deployed locations.  It carries the largest conventional payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the U.S. Air Force and is considered the backbone of America’s long-range bomber force. 

In a historic moment for U.S. and Indian aviation enthusiasts, on February 3, 2021, the B-1B landed in India for the first time and conducted a fly-by on the inaugural day of Aero India 2021, escorted by an Indian Air Force Tejas fighter. Commonly called the “Bone” (for “B-one”), the return of the long-range, supersonic, heavy bomber to India to participate in Aero India 2023 underscores the importance the United States places on the growing strategic partnership with India. 

Major General Julian C. Cheater, Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force, International Affairs, said, The B-1 offers flexible options to senior leaders and combatant commanders. Greater integration with our Allies and partners throughout the region is a positive step towards greater interoperability.”   

Rear Admiral Michael Baker, Senior Defense Official and Defense Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, said, “We are happy to have the B1 in India for the second time. These bombers made the journey from South Dakota to Guam and then to India just to add another exciting dimension to Aero India ‘23. It’s a long mission to travel from the continental U.S. to the Indian Ocean; but it was worth it to be part of the biggest air show in the region hosted by our Major Defense Partner, India. The U.S. and India continue to deepen Defense cooperation.  We have two great militaries that are even better when we work together.” 

The array of U.S. aircraft already participating in Aero India 2023 shows U.S. support for Aero India 2023 and the strength of the U.S.-India partnership. In addition to the B-1s, the U.S. lineup includes the U.S. Air Force’s newest fifth-generation fighters – the stealthy, supersonic, multirole F-35A Lightning II and F-35A Joint Strike FighterThroughout the week, an F-16 Fighting Falcon duo is conducting daily aerial demonstrations, showcasing the capability of one of the USAF’s leading fighter jets. The U.S. Navy F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornet multirole fighters are on static display at Yelahanka Air Force Base in Bengaluru.  

Links to Full and Final List of U.S. Military Aircraft at Aero India 2023:  

B-1B Lancer, long-range, multi-role, heavy bomber from the Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota base (demo) 

F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team, Hill Air Force Base, Utah (Aerial Demo)  

F-35A Lightning II, 354th Fighter Wing, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska (Static) 

F-16 Fighting Falcon, 51st Fighter Wing, Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea (Static)   

Pacific Air Forces F-16 Demonstration Team, Misawa Air Base, Japan (Aerial Demo)   

F/A-18E Super Hornet, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni, Japan (Static)