US Air Force B-2 Spirit Bombers Return Home After Bomber Task Force Mission
US Air Force B-2 Spirit Bombers Return Home After Bomber Task Force Mission

US Air Force B-2 Spirit Bombers Return Home After Bomber Task Force Mission

U.S. Air Force Three B-2 Spirit stealth bombers, assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, successfully completed their mission with NATO Allies from late August to mid-September. This was the first time the B-2s forward deployed to Keflavik Air Base, Iceland marking a significant event for capabilities between Allied fighter aircraft and stealth bombers. The B-2s integrated and trained with the U.K.’s typhoon fighter jets and Norway’s F-35s. Bomber Task Force missions are critical to ensuring Air Force Global Strike Airmen are capable of executing operations at the direction of the national command authority.

“Regularly cooperating bomber activities with allies and partners helps us better address challenges in today’s complex global security environment. Strong partnerships are essential to our ability to deter, defend and win. Our ability to rotate Airmen and aircraft in theatre and integrate capabilities with our allies, particularly in the High North, highlights our collective readiness. These missions demonstrate how our combined forces are prepared to respond to any potential crisis or challenge across the globe,” said General Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, NATO Allied Air Command commander.

A B-2 Spirit assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing flies overhead at RAF Fairford, England, Aug. 25, 2021. The B-2 flyover was part of a Bomber Task Force mission in which aircraft conduct theater and flight training across Europe and Africa. The BTF missions, which have been occurring since 2018, provide theater familiarization for aircrew members and opportunities for U.S. integration with NATO allies and regional partners. The bomber missions enhance readiness and provide the training necessary to respond to any potential crisis or challenge across the globe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Eugene Oliver)

By training in Europe, aircrew and Airmen are familiarizing themselves with the European theater and airspace, to enhance enduring skills and relationships with allies and partners. The B-2’s deployment to Lajes Field provides a staging point allowing commanders to confront a broad range of global challenges in support of the National Defense Strategy, through the employment of a multi-role bomber. While the U.S. Air Force routinely deploys a variety of aircraft and units throughout Europe for training and to support geographic combatant command objectives, the B-2’s deployment to Lajes Field demonstrates the importance of working with U.S. allies and partners.

The theater integration and training with allies, partners and other U.S. military units enhances interoperability capability across the entire theater. This cooperation increases Air Force Global Strike’s Airmen readiness, and the B-2’s ability to respond to and support global operations. The employment of bombers contributes to stability throughout Europe, as they are intended to deter conflict. However, the B-2 can offer a rapid response capability to meet any need, anytime, anywhere. As the B-2 conducts missions to enhance the readiness and training necessary for Airmen to respond to potential disasters or challenges across the globe, Lajes Field provides a strategic stepping stone in the European theater that assures mission success.

Three B-2 Spirit stealth bombers, assigned to Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, arrive at Keflavik Air Base, Iceland, August 23, 2021. The stealth bombers will take part in their first ever forward operation out of Iceland, highlighting Air Force Global Strike Airmen capabilities of executing bomber agile combat employment in the European theater. By training in Iceland, aircrew and Airmen are familiarizing themselves with the European theater and airspace, enhancing enduring skills and relationships with NATO allies and regional partners. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Victoria Hommel)