Two U.S. Air Force B-2 stealth bombers on Sunday joined B-52s in Europe for additional exercises.
The Spirits and airmen from the 509th and 131st Bomb Wings traveled from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, to RAF Fairford, England, and conducted hot-pit refueling and engine-running crew change skills tests, according to an Air Force news release.
The events were meant to demonstrate the "ability of the aircraft to forward deploy and deliver conventional and nuclear deterrence anytime and anywhere," the release said. The release did not say how long the B-2s would remain in the region.
On Friday, three B-52 bombers deployed to Europe on Friday where they will fly training missions over the Baltic Sea.
The Stratofortresses Statofortresses and 330 airmen, assigned to 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, will participate in multinational exercises Baltic Operations 15 (BALTOPS) and SABER STRIKE Saber Strike 15 during their month-long deployment to RAF Fairford, United Kingdom, according to a n Air Force news release.
The aircraft will demonstrate the "United States' long-range global strike capability" in the region in addition to coordinated training with partners and allies at a time when Russian-backed separatists have increased their offensive in easternon the borders with Ukraine.
Recently, Russian aircraft acted aggressively toward American warships in international waters. The Navy released footage last week of Russian Su-24 aircraft flying past the USS Ross in the Black Sea.
The bombers "will integrate into several exercise activities, including air intercept training, simulated mining operations during SABER STRIKE Saber Strike, inert ordnance drops during BALTOPS, and close air support" over international waters in the Baltic Sea and the territory of the Baltic states and Poland, according to a news release.
"This deployment to RAF Fairford was specifically designed and closely coordinated with the United Kingdom and our regional allies to ensure maximum opportunities to synchronize and integrate our bomber capabilities with their military assets," Navy Adm. Cecil Haney, U.S. Strategic Command commander, said in the release.
A B-52 Stratofortress assigned to the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base, N.D., arrives June 5 at Royal RAF Fairford, United Kingdom. During the short-term deployment, three Minot-based B-52 bombers, supported by more than 330 Air Force Global Strike Command airmen, are scheduled to conduct training flights with ground and naval forces.
Photo Credit: Senior Airman Malia Jenkins/Air Force
"Participation of B-52s in Exercises BALTOPS and SABER STRIKE Saber Strike demonstrates our nation's steadfast commitment to promoting regional stability and security, fostering cooperation and increasing interoperability as we work alongside our allies toward mutual goals," he said.
Last June, the Pentagon sent two B-2s and three B-52s to Europe for similar training events one days after President Obama announced he would increase the U.S. military presence in the region following Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
According to U.S. Strategic Command, the recent deployment follows a series of several global missions for the bombers during the past year:
- Two B-52s participated alongside Jordanian forces in Central Command's Exercise EAGER LION Eager Lion 2015 in May.
- In April, four B-52s flew round-trip flights during exercise Polar Growl to the Arctic and North Sea regions.
- B-52s also participated in NATO Exercise NOBLE JUSTIFICATION Noble Justification in October 2014, assisting in the exercise's focus of validating the Spanish Maritime Force as the 2015 Maritime NATO Response Force.