Two U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress aircraft from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, completed a mission with the Hellenic air force over the Aegean Sea and the Turkish air force in the international airspace over the Black Sea on June 14, 2021. The first strategic bomber aircraft conducted operations with F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft from the Hellenic air force over the Aegean Sea. Turkish F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft escorted the second U.S. bomber through Turkish airspace and then into the international airspace over and around the Black Sea.
“Forward-basing B-52s in Spain allows aircrews to execute premier training that would be difficult, if not impossible, to replicate stateside,” said Lt. Gen. Steven Basham, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa deputy commander. “Missions like today’s underscore the importance of BTFs for the overall readiness of our force, in addition to providing realistic training alongside our partners and allies.”
Bomber Task Force missions highlight U.S. capabilities to work closely with allies and partners, and showcase the inherent speed, flexibility, and range of strategic bombers. In addition, they provide invaluable training to aircrews and maintenance personnel. Bomber Task Force deployments have accomplished more than 200 sorties in the USAFE-AFAFRICA areas of responsibility since the first iteration in 2018. When necessary, the ability to quickly respond and the assurance of allies and partners rests upon the fact that U.S. forces are here, in Europe, forward and ready.