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A B-1B Lancer assigned to the 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Dyess AFB, Texas, flies through the sky after refueling during a training sortie involving aircraft from Dyess and Kadena Air Base, Japan, May 8, 2015. Air Force photo by TSgt. Darnell T. Cannady.

Two B-1B Lancers assigned to the 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Dyess AFB, Texas, recently returned from a training mission to Andersen AFB, Guam. The mission tested the Lancer’s Block-16 upgrade and inertial navigation system replacement (INS-R) during a long-duration sortie, according to a June 3 release. It was the first time an upgraded BONE crossed the international dateline or the equator. “The No. 1 benefit of these sorties was that we proved we can take off from the continental United States, fly to a completely different theater, set up our own datalink, mission planning cell, and maintenance contingent, and execute missions from this deployed location in an extremely short period of time, with a relatively small logistical footprint,” said a 337th B-1 instructor pilot, who was not named in the release. The sorties also are important to demonstrate the global nature of the B-1, which will transition from Air Combat Command to Air Force Global Strike Command on Oct. 1. “Block 16 and its refinements will prove to be a game changer for the B-1. Not only does it add capabilities and increase situational awareness within the jet, but it adds invaluable situational awareness on where we are and what we are doing,” said the 337th TES director of operations.