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By 2nd Lt. Michael Caggiano
28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. – B-1B Lancers assigned to the 34th Bomb Squadron successfully participated in exercise COPE INDIA 2023, April 10-21, 2023. Participation in the exercise enhanced partnership between the U.S. Air Force and Indian Air Force (IAF).
The 34th Bomb Squadron flew in the long-standing U.S. Pacific Air Forces exercise to enhance U.S.-Indian mutual cooperation and build on existing capabilities, aircrew tactics and force employment. Exercise COPE INDIA 23 marks the first time that a B-1B Lancer has participated in an exercise with India, second time being in India in the last two months, and third time in two years that the 34th BS has flown and landed in India.
The partnership between U.S. and Indian forces continues to grow through information sharing, liaison officers, defense enabling agreements, and increasingly complex exercises like COPE INDIA.
“The 34th Bomb Squadron, ‘World Famous Thunderbirds’, are grateful for the opportunity to integrate and train with India as we strengthen our Indo-Pacific partnership,” said 34th BS Commander Lt. Col. Ross Hobbs. “The 34th was able to fly multiple days of COPE INDIA 23, which provided my aircrew the invaluable opportunity to train in advanced combat tactics with the Indian Air Force in a way that no other U.S. bomber ever has before.”
He went on to note that the integrations provide a clear message that our partnership and teamwork towards common goals has grown exponentially.
“Opportunities such as COPE INDIA increase our mutual understanding enabling an open dialogue and exchange of ideas that will be fruitful moving forward," added Lt. Col. Jared Tomlin, deputy commander of the 28th Operation Group, who led the 34th Bomb Squadron on the ground in India.
The increasing combat capability and improving warfighter compatibility between the U.S. and Indian Air Forces further showcases the U.S. and India’s efforts and commitment to the stability and security of the Indo-Pacific region.
“We appreciate the opportunity afforded to us and look forward to future training events with the IAF in order to strengthen our political and military cooperation,” said Hobbs.
The 28th Bomb Wing and its ‘Raiders’ at Ellsworth Air Force Base, are on the cutting-edge of long-range strike, standing ready to provide combat power to the nation anytime-anywhere.