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Final B-1 Of Latest Bomber Task Force Europe Leaves RAF Fairford With Wing Wave Departure

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B-1 Fairford
BOLD 32 taking off from RAF Fairford on Dec. 4, 2023. (Image credit: screenshot from @Saint1Mil video)

The last B-1 has left RAF Fairford marking the end of BTF 24-1. It said goodbye to the British base rocking its wings on departure.

On Dec. 4, 2023, the B-1B deployment for Bomber Task Force-Europe 24-1 came to an end with the departure of the final Lancer. Flying as BOLD 32, the BONE (from B-One) left RAF Fairford for Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, with an amazing wing wave departure.

The video below, shot by our friend @Saint1Mil shows the final bomber, #86-0119, taking off and rocking its wings to say goodbye to the base that has hosted the deployment since October.

The first two BONEs out of a total of four assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron from Dyess Air Force Base, had arrived in the UK on Oct. 12, 2023. The goal of the Bomber Task Force was to provide “U.S. and NATO leaders with strategic options to assure Allies and partners, while also deterring potential adversary aggression throughout Europe and across the globe.”

“In today’s challenging and dynamic security environment, the significance of these missions cannot be overemphasized,” said Gen. James Hecker, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, U.S. Air Forces Africa and NATO Allied Command, in a public statement. “We’re not only demonstrating our commitment to collective defense but also strengthening our ability to respond to potential challenges. This underscores the enduring commitment of the United States to our Allies and partners.”

From RAF Fairford, the bombers have flown a mixture of Baltic and Middle East missions (including one that lasted 25 hours).

BTF 24-1 wrapped up on Nov. 10, with the departure of the first two B-1s to Dyess AFB. On Nov. 15, the remaining two Lancer bombers were planned to depart but one (86-0119) experienced technical issues and remained at RAF Fairford until it was ready for departure again on Dec. 4.

As shown in the footage, the pilot kept the supersonic bomber low on departure and left with a wing wave.

By the way, this was not the first time a BONE rocked its wing on take off from Fairford: at the end of the previous deployment, on Jun. 27, 2023, SPICY22 did a wing wave too. You can find the footage here.

In spite of its size, the B-1 is a quite agile and maneuverable aircraft, as demonstrated many times at various airshows in the U.S.

David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.

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