Over the skies of South Korea on Wednesday, dramatic photos showed a strategic Air Force bomber with US warplanes and allies in formation.
But there were supposed to be two Air Force bombers flying together.
In another poster of the maintenance challenges facing the US Army after years of budget cuts, the B-1B Air Force bomber that flew to South Korea from Guam today was forced to leave behind to your wing mate.
The second attacker reported a maintenance problem while taxiing to the runway to take off, according to an Air Force official who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the media.
"We only had a 30 minute window launch to meet the tanker," while flying from Guam to South Korea, "said the official.
The B-1B participated in the annual" Vigilant ACE "aerial exercises. They included F-35 fifth-generation F-35 fighters and stealth fighters for the first time.Overall, more than 230 aircraft between the United States and South Korea are participating in the five-day exercise that ends Friday.
] The landed US bomber was not the only problem this week for the US Air Force. A modern F-22 Stealth jet was towed from the runway after landing in South Korea this week, although the Air Force later did not find any problem with the plane, according to Stars and Stripes.
The fact that only half of the B-1B bombers were able to carry out their training mission on Wednesday falls roughly in line with the capacitance rates. of the mission of the B-1 fleet of the Air Force. Today, only half of the B-1 in the inventory can fly. The Air Force has almost 2,000 pilots and approximately 4,000 short aircraft mechanics. Spare parts are hard to find for the bomber that came into service for the first time in the 1980s.
The shortage has become so bad that some bomber teams are forced to search for parts in a remote known desert like "The Boneyard".
Twenty years ago, the B-1s had an average of approximately 1,000 flight hours in their air structures. Today, that number in many cases exceeds 10,000 hours.
When Fox News visited a B-1 base in South Dakota in 2016, a scene similar to that of Guam on Wednesday.
Two B-1 bombers were supposedly launching from Ellsworth Air Force Base to fly nearly 1,000 miles south to the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico for a real fire drill.
That day, however, only one of the two B-1s that went to the track was able to take off and do the training mission on time. The other sat near the track for two hours. He finally took off, but was unable to participate in the actual fire drill and was diverted to a different mission, as his crew lost valuable training at White Sands.
It is not immediately clear why a spare bomber was not available in Guam to complete the training mission.
Currently there are only six B-1B bombers deployed in Guam, and today, one can not complete the mission.
Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews