B-2 Spirit Bomber Conducts Hot Pit Refueling in Lajes Field, Portugal: A Symbol of Strong Partnership.

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In a significant display of NATO cooperation, a B-2 Spirit bomber from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, undertook a hot pit refueling operation at Lajes Field, Portugal, on September 12, 2023.

This rare event underscored the resolute dedication of both the United States and Portugal to deter potential threats and reinforce the NATO Alliance, serving as a testament to the enduring bonds of the vital international partnership. This is the first time a B2 Spirit Bomber has stopped at Lajes and highlights the geostrategic importance of the Azores.

Following the hot pit refueling procedure, the B-2 Spirit bomber returned home to Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, after a month-long deployment to Keflavik Air Base, Iceland.

"Hot pit refueling is a force multiplier. It eases the burden on a heavily tasked tanker fleet by giving us the option to refuel on the ground and leverage the capabilities of our Allies and partners,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Andrew Kousgaard, 393rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron commander.

“It also reduces the risk of aircraft malfunctions and the amount of time spent on the ground because with properly certified equipment and crews, we can take on the fuel we need without shutting down the aircraft. "

As Bomber Task Force missions continue to unfold in the European theater, the refueling mission at Lajes Field shows the unwavering partnership between the United States and Portugal. It underscores the strong NATO Alliance adeptness in working harmoniously to skillfully address an extensive spectrum of global challenges.

The capacity of U.S. armed forces and equipment to seamlessly collaborate with Allies and Partners is paramount in establishing an extended network of alliances and partnerships capable of decisively addressing the multifaceted challenges of today and the future.

Lt. Col. Kousgaard, also stressed the importance of interoperability with Allies and the utilization of partner-nation resources for refueling operations.

For additional information and imagery related to Bomber Task Force Europe 23-4, please visit the official USAFE website at https://www.usafe.af.mil and on DVIDS at https://dvidshub.net/feature/bombertaskforceeurope.