U.S. Air Forces in Europe & Air Forces Africa
Published March 26, 2021
A B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, assigned to Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, departs Lajes Field, Azores, March 25, 2021. The strategic bomber missions provide Airmen an opportunity to test their rapid response capability, allowing them to meet any potential crisis or challenge across the globe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Heather Salazar)
A B-1B Lancer assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron sits on the flightline at Ørland Air Force Station, Norway, March 14, 2021. Conducting Bomber Task Force Europe deployments and operations provides aircrew with enhanced readiness and training necessary to respond to any contingency or challenge across the globe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Colin Hollowell)
B-2 Spirit aircraft from the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, flew the final mission of the most recent Bomber Task Force deployment, March 25, 2021.
This iteration of the BTF consisted of B-2s and B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.
The B-1s accomplished a number of historic firsts during this deployment. They were the first bomber to deploy to Norway, land in the Arctic Circle and land in Poland where they conducted the first hot-pit refuel of a B-1 in Europe, demonstrating a critical Agile Combat Employment capability.
From Norway, the B-1s flew nine sorties, integrating with ally and partner assets to include Norwegian F-35 Lightning aircraft, Swedish JAS-39 Gripens, Danish F-16 Fighting Falcons, Polish F-16s and German and Italian Eurofighter Typhoons currently supporting NATO’s Baltic Air Policing. The B-1s also worked alongside U.S. special operations forces to provide critical support to Norwegian and Swedish joint terminal attack controller training.
On March 16, B-2s joined this iteration of the BTF, flying their first of four missions in the High North. The B-2s integrated with the B-1s and the Norwegian F-35s currently supporting NATO’s Icelandic Air Policing mission off the coast of Iceland.
“Looking back at everything our Airmen have accomplished in the past month is pretty incredible,” said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander. “This iteration of BTF demonstrated our unwavering commitment to the security and stability of Europe, provided vital opportunities to strengthen our bonds with allies and partners and allowed our Airmen to develop and refine skills that are necessary for the future success of our air operations.”
Since 2018, the strategic bomber missions have provided theater familiarization for aircrew members and opportunities for U.S. integration with NATO allies and regional partners.
Coverage of the deployment is available on this website and on the DVIDS hub at: https://www.dvidshub.net/feature/bombertaskforceeurope.