All we know about latest B-52 missions as pictures of bombers flying with fighter jets are released

The United States Air Force has released more details about the latest missions flown by B-52 bombers operating out of RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

The six bombers are stationed in the Cotswolds for training and missions across Europe, the Baltics and Scandinavia.

Their recent sorties have seen them deployed to Iceland, the Netherlands and a return visit to the Norwegian Sea.

The US Air Force has also issued more pictures of the plans on their missions, including some as they flew alongside F-16 fighter jets.

Mission on Friday, March 29:

US Air Force B-52 Stratofortress aircraft conducted flights from RAF Fairford to Iceland and the Netherlands to conduct theater familiarization.

They were also there to demonstrate U.S. commitment to allies and partners through the global employment of our military forces, a statement said.

“Bomber training missions enable crews to maintain a high state of readiness and proficiency, and validate our always-ready global strike capability,” it said.

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Mission on Thursday, March 28

Five U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortresses conducted training flights over international waters in the vicinity of the Norwegian Sea

During the flights, B-52s conducted training with Norwegian F-16 fighter jets.

A spokesman said training with NATO allies like Norway enhances the capabilities and readiness of the alliance.

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Fighter jets flying alongside a B-52

A statement said: “The flights also allowed aircrews to conduct theater familiarization and to demonstrate U.S. commitment to allies and partners through the global employment of our military forces.

“U.S. Strategic Command regularly tests and evaluates the readiness of strategic assets to ensure we are able to honor our security commitments.”

Why are they here?

The strategic bombers are part of the Bomber Task Force which has been deployed to the European Command area. Six of them have been based at RAF Fairford for two weeks now.

They are from the 2 Bomb Wing from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, in the US and have been working on training and simulated warfare exercises along with Nato allies.

Speaking of the deployment of B-52s from RAF Fairford, the USAF said:  “Operationally, this rotation is the largest deployment of a single bomber platform since 2003 for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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Capt. Richard “Hash” Brown, 20th Bomb Squadron B-52 Stratofortress pilot deployed from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., looks out a window during a flight over Norway,

“The deployment of strategic bombers to the U.K. helps exercise RAF Fairford as United States Air Forces in Europe’s forward operating location for bombers, as well as implements joint and allied training in the U.S. European Command theater to improve bomber interoperability.”

Although the B-52s are on temporary assignment to RAF Fairford, the base is set to be expanded in years to come.

Planning has started on relocating more than 2,000 United States Air Force personnel and family members to RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

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They will move from RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk over the next five years as part of the relocation of the RC-135 mission.

The RC-135 aircraft will use RAF Fairford as a Forward Operating Location and around 887 US military personnel and 1,240 family members are expected to begin relocating to Fairford in 2023.

 

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