NEWS | May 19, 2015

Barksdale B-52s Participate in U.S. Central Command Exercise Eager Lion

By U.S. Strategic Command Public Affairs

Two B-52 Stratofortress bombers assigned to the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale AFB, La., returned May 18, 2015, from a 30-plus hour, 14,000 mile nonstop mission to the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) area of operations (AOR) to participate alongside Jordanian and other multinational forces in Exercise Eager Lion 2015.

Exercise Eager Lion is one of USCENTCOM’s premiere exercises, and consists of a series of simulated scenarios to facilitate a coordinated, partnered military response to both conventional and unconventional threats. While U.S. participation in Exercise Eager Lion occurs on a regular basis, this year marks the first time the multi-role, heavy bomber has been integrated into the exercise. In total, about 10,000 U.S. and international military personnel are participating in Eager Lion, taking place May 5-19 in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

During the exercise, B-52 crews joined up with Royal Jordanian Air Force F-16 fighter aircraft over Jordan, conducting a low flyover and a conventional weapons demonstration. Additionally, while in flight, bomber crews coordinated with Jordanian joint terminal attack controllers on the ground to increase cooperation and understanding regarding tactics, techniques and procedures for future interoperability.  

Combined with the long-range nature of the flight, which involved four aerial refueling operations, this mission showcases the flexible capabilities of the bomber force and its ability to integrate and strengthen interoperability with Allies and partners around the globe.

"Partnering with other geographic combatant commands, and participating in combined training engagements with our Allies and partners demonstrates our shared commitment to promoting peace and stability," said Adm. Cecil D. Haney, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command.  "The B-52 flights in support of Exercise Eager Lion were specifically designed to ensure maximum opportunities to synchronize and integrate USSTRATCOM bomber capabilities with regional partners, fostering cooperation and increasing interoperability among exercise partners as we work toward mutual goals.”

USSTRATCOM’s bomber force regularly conducts combined training and theater security cooperation engagements with Allies and partners, and B-52 participation in Exercise Eager Lion follows several global missions during the last year that enhanced interoperability. For example, these flights follow two simultaneous, round-trip flights of B-52s to the Arctic and North Sea regions in early April; coined “Polar Growl”, this mission enabled bomber crews to conduct air intercept training with fighter aircraft from the United Kingdom, Canada and the Netherlands. Previously, B-52s participated in NATO Exercise Noble Justification in October 2014, where the bombers assisted in the exercise’s focus of validating the Spanish Maritime Force as the 2015 Maritime NATO Response Force.