An unspecified number of US Air Force (USAF) Boeing B-1B Lancer long-range bombers flew an intercontinental combat mission from Dyess AFB in Texas to strike targets in Iraq and Syria on 2 February.

The sorties marked the opening salvo in a retaliatory air campaign against Iran-affiliated militant groups the Pentagon says were involved in the deaths of three US Army personnel in Jordan on 28 January.

That incident involved an explosively-armed one-way uncrewed aerial vehicle being crashed into a troop barracks at the remote desert outpost known as Tower 22.

Washington says long-range bombers flying from the continental USA, now confirmed as B-1Bs, participated in the 2 February strikes, which hit 85 targets with 125 precision munitions. 

The USAF subsequently released photos of the ultra-long-range Lancer mission, including pre-flight maintenance, ordnance loading and sortie take-off from Dyess AFB in the early hours of 1 February local time.

The supersonic B-1B is the USAF’s platform of choice for long-range conventional strike missions. The service lists the B-1B’s range as “intercontinental”.

Each Lancer carries a payload of 34,020kg (75,000lb) – equivalent to 84 of the USAF’s Mk82 226kg general purpose bombs or 15 GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munition guided bombs.