US Bombers Arrive in Europe for Training with NATO Allies and Partners
(Source: NATO; issued Aug 24, 2020)
Norwegian F-16 fighters escort six US Air Force B-52 bombers which deployed last week to RAF Fairford, in the UK, for a series of training flights with NATO air forces. (RNoAF photo)
Six US Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bomber aircraft from the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota arrived at Royal Air Force Fairford in the United Kingdom on Saturday (22 August 2020). The long-planned deployment will involve flight training with NATO Allies and partners in the coming days.
NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu welcomed the arrival, saying: “This deployment is a strong sign of the United States’ enduring commitment to NATO and to European security. US aircraft will be flying alongside Allied air forces in the coming days, honing our ability to work together in response to any challenge. NATO is a defensive alliance, and for more than seventy years our nations have stood together to deter aggression, prevent conflict, and preserve peace.”
Since 2018, the US has conducted more than 200 Bomber Task Force sorties with Allies and partners. Most recently, this involved B-1B Lancer flights over the Nordic, Baltic, and Black Sea regions in May, as well as an air policing overflight of North Macedonia, NATO’s newest member.
In June, B-52H Stratofortresses conducted flights over the Arctic Ocean, and later took part in BALTOPS, the largest annual exercise in the Baltic Sea, which brought together 3,000 personnel from 19 NATO Allies and partners.
Norwegian Fighters Exercise Together with American Bombers
(Source: Royal Norwegian Air Force; issued August 24, 2020)
As part of a large American exercise in Europe, American bombers are training along with Norwegian fighters. Both Norwegian F-16 and F-35 are participating.
On Friday 21 August, American B-52 Stratofortress bombers arrived at Fairford, England. The bombers from the 5th Bomb Wing, based at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, will train in Europe over a longer period. This is an important training arena for Norway that will strengthen the cooperation between NATO countries.
"I am very pleased that our American friends choose to practice in our surroundings. It is important that they are familiar with Norwegian conditions and can operate together with us if necessary," says Norwegian Chief of Defence, General Eirik Kristoffersen.
The first training mission was conducted with F-16s.
The exercise is crucial for every part of air operations. It is a test of Norway's ability to coordinate operations across NATO’s area of operation. During the actual mission, Norway’s Air Force will train its entire chain – from control and surveillance to its ground personnel and aircraft. It is important that everyone is familiar with the different bases, airspace, and the different operation patterns, to build expertise and confidence among the people that carry out the missions.
The exercise focuses on the cooperation across NATO countries and partner nations. This type of cooperation strengthens NATO countries' ability to operate – but even more important, it strengthens our ability to work together during times of conflict and crisis.