U.S. Bombers & Allied Aircraft Integrate to Fly Over All 30 NATO Nations in a Day
(Source: U.S. European Command; issued Aug. 28, 2020)
STUTTGART, Germany --- In a unique spin on regularly recurring Bomber Task Force (BTF) missions in Europe, six U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers will fly over all 30 NATO nations in Europe and North America on Aug. 28.
This single-day mission titled Allied Sky is intended to demonstrate NATO solidarity, enhance readiness and provide training opportunities aimed at enhancing interoperability for all participating aircrews from the U.S. and NATO allies. Allied Sky is the latest iteration of routine BTF missions that have occurred in the European theater of operations since 2018, with more than 200 sorties coordinated with Allies and partners. BTF missions are long-planned and not in response to any current political events occurring in Europe.
Allied Sky will be conducted by two teams:
-- Four B-52 Stratofortress bomber aircraft currently deployed to Royal Air Force (RAF) Fairford, U.K., will fly the European portion of the mission. Strategic bombers will integrate throughout the day with several NATO nations’ air force fighter aircraft and aerial refueling aircraft in the skies above each host nation.
-- Two B-52 Stratofortresses assigned to the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N. D., will fly over the NATO nations of Canada and the United States.
“U.S. security commitments to the NATO Alliance remain ironclad,” said Gen. Tod Wolters, commander of U.S. European Command (USEUCOM). “Today's bomber task force mission is another example of how the Alliance sustains readiness, improves interoperability and demonstrates our ability to deliver on commitments from across the Atlantic.”
NATO nations scheduled to participate in the mission and integrate with the bomber aircraft include Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, the U.K. and the U.S.
Operations and engagements with Allies and partners serve as cornerstones highlighting USEUCOM’s commitment to global security and stability. These opportunities also serve as a reminder that, despite ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19, U.S. forces remain fully ready to execute their missions across all domains while enhancing interoperability alongside Allies and partners.
“By further enhancing our enduring relationships, we send a clear message to potential adversaries about our readiness to meet any global challenge,” Wolters added.
US Bombers To Overfly All 30 NATO Allies In A Single Day
(Source: NATO; issued Aug. 28, 2020)
Six US Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bomber aircraft are overflying all 30 NATO Allies on Friday (28 August 2020), training together with Allied air forces. As four US strategic bombers fly over Europe and two over North America for this long-planned event, named “Allied Sky”, they will be accompanied by around 80 fighter aircraft from across the Alliance, providing an opportunity to boost Allies’ ability to train and operate alongside each other.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: “Today’s training event demonstrates the United States’ powerful commitment to NATO, and Allied solidarity in action. As US bombers overfly all 30 NATO Allies in a single day, they are being accompanied by fighter jets from across the Alliance, boosting our ability to respond together to any challenge. Training events like this help ensure that we fulfil our core mission: to deter aggression, prevent conflict, and preserve peace.”
Aircraft from 20 NATO Allies are expected to fly alongside the US bombers: Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
Based at the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, the B-52s arrived in Europe on 22 August, flying into Royal Air Force Fairford in the United Kingdom. Earlier this week, the bombers also exercised together with Norwegian F-16 and F-35 fighter aircraft off the coast of Norway.
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.
U.S. Bombers Integrate with French, U.K. Aircraft
(Source: US Department of Defense; issued Aug. 27, 2020)
Two B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers from the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, conducted integration and interoperability training with French air force Mirage fighters and Royal Air Force Typhoon fighters during a tri-lateral training sortie as part of the long-planned Bomber Task Force Europe mission, Aug. 27, 2020.
This marks the first time a Bomber Task Force Europe mission has launched from a forward-operating location since COVID-19.
“We talk a lot about interoperability, and today’s mission demonstrates what that actually means,” said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander. “Aircraft from three different nations received fuel from partner nation tankers highlighting our ability to seamlessly operate together. This type of training strengthens our relationships and enables us to be ready to operate as a coalition anytime, anywhere.”
French air force KC-135 aircraft and RAF Voyager aircraft provided the refueling necessary to enable long-range, long duration strategic missions demonstrating NATO’s tanker interoperability.
Airmen from the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, are deployed to RAF Fairford, England, to conduct training with partners and allies during this Bomber Task Force Europe rotation.
Bomber missions familiarize aircrew with air bases, airspace, and operations in different geographic combatant commands. They demonstrate the credibility of our forces to address a global security environment that is more diverse and uncertain than at any other time in our history.