Home Air USAF B-1B bombers in rare Bosnia flyover amid Kosovo tensions

USAF B-1B bombers in rare Bosnia flyover amid Kosovo tensions

Photo: US Air Force

Two US Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber aircraft flew low over Sarajevo and other cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina on May 30, serving as a sign of “strong partnership between the United States and the Armed Forces of BiH.”

The flyover took place just a day after 30 NATO soldiers sustained injuries in the municipality of Zvecan in Northern Kosovo, trying to contain Serbian rioters protesting Albanian mayors taking office in the country’s northern Serb-majority area. Three Hungarian soldiers were wounded by the use of firearms. NATO subsequently decided to send more troops to the region, in a addition to the 4,000 already stationed there.

Also, the bomber flyover was meant as a sign of support against secessionist threats from pro-Russia Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, “symbolizing the commitment of the US to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and multi-ethnic essence of B&H,” as the US Embassy in B&H said.

Furthermore, the aircraft took part in a collaborative military occasion alongside Bosnia’s multi-ethnic army and US Army special forces, held in the northeastern town of Tuzla.

The opposition in Republika Srpska finds the flyover unacceptable, partly due to the fact that the aircraft involved were used in the 1999 bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. President of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, referred to the flyover as intimidation.

The B-1B bomber aircraft are currently stationed at the RAF Fairford base in the UK as part of the final phase of the Bomber Task Force operation. The purpose of this operation, as emphasized by the airmen, is to conduct ongoing emergency missions worldwide, ensuring global stability and security, while also providing valuable experience in operating across different regions.

The Rockwell B-1 Lancer is a supersonic variable-sweep wing, commonly referred to as the “Bone” (derived from “B-One”). It is capable of carrying the largest conventional payload of guided and unguided missiles among all aircraft in aviation.

As of 2023, it was one of three strategic bombers in service within the USAF fleet, alongside the B-2 Spirit and the B-52 Stratofortress.