For the third time this year, Norwegian fighters trained together with US strategic bombers. Four B-52H Stratofortresses from the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, conducted a long-range, long duration strategic Bomber Task Force mission throughout Europe and the Arctic region, June 3, 2020. The flight involved missions over the Arctic Ocean and Laptev Sea. Additionally, the aircraft conducted training with Norwegian F-16s and F-35s.
“The Arctic is a strategic region with growing geopolitical and global importance, and these Bomber Task Force missions demonstrate our commitment to our partners and allies and our capability to deter, assure, and defend together in an increasingly complex environment.” said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander. “The integration of our bombers across Europe and the Arctic is key to enhancing regional security.”
The U.S. Department of Defense is working with Arctic nations and multinational and interagency public and private partners to maintain a secure and stable region where nations work cooperatively to address challenges. The US Air Force has for some time now, had regular exercises in Europe with some of their capacities. Earlier this year, the Royal Norwegian Air Force conducted several joint exercises both over Iceland and Norway with the F-35s and F-16s. Being present in northern parts of Norway, and having joint exercises with our allies is strategically important.
KC-135 Stratotankers from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England, and the 168th Air Refueling Wing, Eielson Air force Base, Alaska, enabled the B-52s to complete the round trip from Minot Air Force Base. B-52 Stratofortress is one of the US’s strategic bomber-aircraft fleet, as well as B1- Lancer and B-2 Spirit. Just last week, Norway got three new F-35, and has now received almost half of the planned fleet. In total Norway now has 25 of 52 F-35s. The plan is that Norway will be fully operational with the F-35s in 2025.