OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. â€“ Three B-52 Stratofortresses assigned to the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, deployed today to Royal Air Force (RAF) Fairford, United Kingdom. The deployment demonstrates the United Statesâ€™ ability to project its flexible, long-range global strike capability and provides opportunities to synchronize strategic activities and capabilities with allies and partners in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) area of operations during the month of June.
During the short-term deployment, the strategic bombers, supported by more than 330 Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen, are scheduled to conduct training flights with ground and naval forces around the region and participate in multinational Exercises BALTOPS 15 and SABER STRIKE 15 over international waters in the Baltic Sea and the territory of the Baltic states and Poland. The bombers will integrate into several exercise activities, including air intercept training, simulated mining operations during SABER STRIKE, inert ordnance drops during BALTOPS, and close air support. Each activity provides unique opportunities for bomber crews to integrate and train with other USEUCOM components and regional allies and partners while exercising the U.S.â€™s key bomber capabilities.
â€œThis deployment to RAF Fairford was specifically designed and closely coordinated with the United Kingdom and our regional Allies to ensure maximum opportunities to synchronize and integrate our bomber capabilities with their military assets,â€ said U.S. Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney, U.S. Strategic Command commander. â€œParticipation of B-52s in Exercises BALTOPS and SABER STRIKE demonstrates our nationâ€™s steadfast commitment to promoting regional stability and security, fostering cooperation and increasing interoperability as we work alongside our allies toward mutual goals.â€
The deployment demonstrates the long-standing relationship between the U.S. and U.K. Elevating RAF Fairford to active status is a key component to this deployment due to the critical capabilities of the base. The fully-developed and tested infrastructure and support facilities at the airfield, as well as its strategic location and unique capabilities, establish the base as a key location for large-scale exercises and readiness operations and an ideal site for bomber operations.
RAF Fairford has a long history of bomber operations, serving the contingency requirements of the U.S. and RAF Forces and their NATO partners since it first opened in 1944. Most recently, RAF Fairford served as a forward operating base for deployed B-52s and B-2s in June 2014. Both platforms conducted training evolutions in and around the U.K. during this time and B-52s participated in the 70th anniversary of D-Day commemoration events.
USSTRATCOMâ€™s bomber force regularly conducts combined training and theater security cooperation engagements with allies and partners. B-52 participation in Exercises BALTOPS and SABER STRIKE follows several global missions during the past year to enhance interoperability.
Two B-52s participated alongside Jordanian forces in U.S. Central Commandâ€™s (USCENTCOMâ€™s) Exercise EAGER LION 2015 in May. The mission consisted of a nonstop 30-plus hour sortie from the continental U.S. to the USCENTCOM area of operations.
In April, four B-52s flew round-trip flights to the Arctic and North Sea regions. The training mission, POLAR GROWL, enabled bomber crews to conduct air intercept training with fighter aircraft from the U.K., Canada and the Netherlands.
B-52s also participated in NATO Exercise NOBLE JUSTIFICATION in October 2014, during which the bombers assisted in the exerciseâ€™s focus of validating the Spanish Maritime Force as the 2015 Maritime NATO Response Force.