Home Air US B-52H bombers return to UK for bomber task force mission

US B-52H bombers return to UK for bomber task force mission

B-52H at RAF Fairford
A B-52H Stratofortress from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, lands at RAF Fairford, England, Aug 18, 2022. Photo: US Air Force

A total of four US Air Force B-52H Stratofortress bombers from the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base landed at Royal Air Force Base Fairford, England, on August 18.

The bombers will be operating of RAF Fairford in the US European Command area of responsibility in support of training missions with allies and partners.

According to the service, the deployment of strategic bombers to the UK will help exercise RAF Fairford as United States Air Forces in Europe’s (USAFE) forward operating location for bombers.

This is the second time B-52s are visiting the UK this year, after arriving at RAF Fairford in February this year for their first bomber task force (BTF) mission.

“These BTF missions across Europe provide a great opportunity to improve our combined readiness, promote interoperability and demonstrate our global power projection alongside our allies,” said US Air Force Gen. James Hecker, USAFE-AFAFRICA and AIRCOM commander. “Our ultimate strength in the European area of operations is a joint-force lethality – our ability to train and operate with our Allies and partners as one layered, capable and credible combat team.”

A featured aspect of today’s arrival mission was the aerial integration among US, Norway and Sweden military aircraft as they executed “rapid, global power projection missions to support the mutual defense of NATO partners and allies, all while achieving multi-domain effects.”

In a first, the the Royal Norwegian Air Force released photos of F-35A fighters flying alongside the US bombers and Swedish Gripens. The US bombers were joined two Swedish JAS Gripen and two Norwegian F-35s for training west of Andøya, North Norway.

Photo: Norwegian defense ministry

“Over the past years, our specialized forces in the air and on the ground have cooperated on complex air operations with both American and Swedish forces,” said Maj. Gen. Rolf Folland, chief of the Royal Norwegian Air Force.

“Today, we operated side by side once again and demonstrated our solid training progression as we continue to add more elements to strengthen our collective capabilities.”

“Witnessing our nation’s Gripen fighter aircraft flying alongside several of America’s most powerful military aircraft visually depicts the strength and solidarity of NATO,” said Maj. Gen. Carl-Johan Edström, commander of the Swedish Air Force. “These moments truly capture the military power that exists within NATO – as individual nations, but, more importantly, as a unified Alliance.”

“Our strategic bomber missions demonstrate our always ready, global strike capability,” said US Air Force Lt. Col Ryan Loucks, 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron BTF commander. “The B-52 remains a universally recognized symbol of America’s assurances to our Allies and partners.”