US Air Force B-52 bombers came under NATO command and control for the first time ever during a Bomber Task Force (BTF) training mission over Romania working out offensive and defensive maneuvers with allied fighters.
The allied aircraft from Canada, Romania and France practiced fighter-bomber escort procedures and bi-lateral communication on the long-range mission flying from the United Kingdom to Romania and the Black Sea Region.
Then the aircraft conducted a range of simulated offensive strikes and defensive maneuvers to support flying training objectives and interoperability between allied aircraft and crews.
The bomber aircraft came under command and control of NATO’s Combined Operations Centres Torrejón and Uedem for the duration of the mission.
The BTF mission over Romania took place after the US deployed four B-52H Stratofortresses from the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base to the Royal Air Force Base Fairford, England, on August 18. The service said the deployment of strategic bombers to the UK would help exercise RAF Fairford as United States Air Forces in Europe’s (USAFE) forward operating location for bombers.
As explained by NATO’s Allied Air Command, bringing US bombers under the command and control of NATO entities creates the necessary opportunity “to build lines of trust and cohesion.”
“Bringing US bombers under the command and control of NATO entities creates the necessary opportunity to build our lines of trust and cohesion,” said General James B. Hecker, commander of NATO’s Allied Air Command and US Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa.
“We’re providing advanced capabilities and readiness enhancing activities across the Euro-Atlantic Area while creating flexible and agile options for bombers should they need to respond to any changes in the operational environment,” he added.