25 Mar 2019

US B-52 bombers to conduct training in Europe

Six US Air Force B-52 long-range bombers have been sent to the United Kingdom for a series of training activities over Europe.

The aircraft and over 450 airmen arrived at Royal Air Force base Fairford from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

The United States has deployed strategic bombers in Europe at least once a year since 2014. Since then, all three US bomber variants – the B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers – have deployed to Fairford airbase for exercises with European NATO Allies, including to Exercise Baltops and Exercise Sabre Strike.

The current deployment of B-52 bombers marks the largest deployment to Europe since Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.  It will assess how the aircraft conduct missions out of Fairford and will familiarise aircrews with operations over Europe, including the Norwegian Sea, Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean.

The US Strategic Command oversees the United States strategic and nuclear deterrent, including B-52 deployments. Forces assigned to the Command are permanently on watch to deter strategic attacks against the US and NATO allies.

NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu, commented: “This is a routine deployment, but it shows that the US nuclear umbrella protects Europe and demonstrates the unique capabilities the US could bring to Europe in a crisis. The B-52 deployment is yet another sign that the United States is strongly committed to NATO”.

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