The 'Spirit of Indiana,' a B-2 Spirit from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, prepares to land on the runway June 8 at RAF Fairford, England. (Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson / Air Force)
The 'Spirit of Indiana' taxis down the runway June 8 at RAF Fairford, England. (Staff Sgt. Nick Wilson / Air Force)
The Air Force has further beefed up its bomber presence in Europe, deploying two B-2 stealth bombers for military exercises in the region.
The B-2 deployment is another show of Washington’s effort to reassure allies in the region amid Russia’s recent bluster. The aircraft are assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing out of Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. On Sunday, they joined three B-52 Stratofortress aircraft already deployed to RAF Fairford, a British air base west of London.?
All five of the aircraft are capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
“This deployment of strategic bombers provides an invaluable opportunity to strengthen and improve interoperability with our allies and partners,” said Adm. Cecil Haney, commander, U.S. Strategic Command in an Air Force news release. “The training and integration of strategic forces demonstrates to our nation’s leaders and our allies that we have the right mix of aircraft and expertise to respond to a variety of potential threats and situations.”
During this short-term deployment, the multi-role heavy bombers will conduct training flights in the U.S. European Command area of operations, according to the release. The release did not specify the length of the deployment.
STRATCOM routinely conducts training missions in support of geographic combatant commands to “ensure the U.S. has a credible and flexible capability to provide the president a variety of options he may need to protect the nation or its allies and partners,” the release said.