Two 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 Baltic region, June 15, 2020, while also supporting the Baltic Operations exercise. This is the 49th iteration of the BALTOPS exercise and the premiere maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic region. Air and maritime assets from 19 NATO allied and partner nations will participate in live training events that include air defense, anti-submarine warfare, maritime interdiction and mine countermeasure operations.
In support of Bomber Task Force Europe, a B-52 conducted integration and interoperability training with British Royal Air Force Typhoons and French Mirage 2000s assigned to NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission. The bomber also overflew Tallinn, Estonia, Riga, Latvia, and Vaindloo Island in the Baltic Sea. A B-52 then conducted a low-approach over the USS Mount Whitney, the flagship and command ship of the United States Sixth Fleet in support of the BALTOPS exercise. A KC-135 Stratotanker from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England, enabled the B-52s to complete the round trip from Minot Air Force Base.
The 49th Baltic Operations (BALTOPS 2020) exercise, the premier maritime-focused exercise in the Baltic Region, kicks off today, June 7, in the Baltic Sea. Between June 7-16, air and maritime assets from 19 NATO allies and partner nations will participate in live training events that include air defence, anti-submarine warfare, maritime interdiction and mine countermeasure operations. For the first time, the exercise will be commanded ashore by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) at its headquarters in Lisbon, Portugal through its new Joint Operations Centre. BALTOPS, held in the Baltic region since in 1972, is a joint, maritime-focused exercise that brings together NATO Allies and Partners.
The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is an American long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber. The B-52 was designed and built by Boeing, which has continued to provide support and upgrades. The B-52H had the same crew and structural changes as the B-52. The most significant upgrade was the switch to TF33-P-3 turbofan engines which, despite the initial reliability problems (corrected by 1964 under the Hot Fan program), offered considerably better performance and fuel economy than the J57 turbojets. A total of 102 B-52Hs were built. The last production aircraft, B-52H AF Serial No. 61-0040, left the factory on 26 October 1962.