Home Air UK-based US B-52 bombers fly Mediterranean mission

UK-based US B-52 bombers fly Mediterranean mission

Illustration: B-52s and allied fighters during Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea Region mission in March this year. Photo: NATO

US Air Force bombers from the 5th Bomb Squadron operating out of their forward deployed base RAF Fairford, United Kingdom, conducted their latest long-range, Bomber Task Force mission throughout Europe, North and Mediterranean Sea Region on April 5.

The B-52s conducted fighter custody handoff where partner nations escorted the bombers across Europe.

The bombers proceeded to integrate with aircraft from allied nations Denmark, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy and United Kingdom. The bombers also worked with JTACs from Hungary and Bulgaria.

“The readiness of our strategic bomber force plays a critical role in our unwavering support to NATO,” said Lt. Gen. Steven Basham, US Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa deputy commander. “Missions like this provide invaluable training opportunities to improve our interoperability alongside our allies and partners. When we work together, our forces are capable of adapting to today’s complex security environment.

During the sortie the B-52 Stratofortress aircraft also participated in close air support training alongside the Greek Hellenic F4s. These aircraft, along with the B-52s played a pivotal part in the Vietnam War.

“The B-52 and the F-4 epitomized air power during the Vietnam War and Cold War”, said Lt Col Bryson Ayers, 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron Commander. “To see two historical aircraft fly together, possibly for the last time, pays homage to the past as we look forward to the future.”

The April mission followed a similar one from early March, when a pair of B-52s from RAF Fairford flew throughout the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea Region while integrating with allied JTACs from Romania. On the same mission, the bombers also practiced bilateral operations with Italian and Greek fighters.