Aerial Warfare

U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer Bombers Return Home After Global Guardian

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U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer Bombers Return Home After Global Guardian

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U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer Bombers Return Home After Global Guardian
U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer Bombers Return Home After Global Guardian

U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancers assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, conducted a cross-combatant command mission from their deployed location at Luleå-Kallax Air Base, Sweden, in support of Global Guardian, Feb. 29, 2024. The aircraft departed from Sweden, crossed into the U.S. Northern Command area of responsibility and completed their deployment by returning to Ellsworth AFB, where the B-1Bs are permanently stationed. The bombers and their crews were operating as part of the Bomber Task Force deployment 24-2, where the U.S. was engaged in combined strategic opportunities with NATO Allies and partners, synchronizing capabilities and assuring security commitment in the area of operations. The objectives of this particular mission were to exercise multinational cooperation, demonstrate collective deterrence, and test air defense capabilities.

“The U.S. is one of our most important partners and having them here at the base is very good logistic training for us to be able to host. Unfortunately, I couldn’t fly on the mission myself, but I heard that it was really, really good. Being a bomber escort is not something we do regularly, so that was very good training. Joining NATO means bringing our two countries together. I’m looking forward to that and having more opportunities to train,” said Swedish air force Col. Peter Greberg, Norrbotten Wing commander.

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A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, sits on a landing pad alongside two Saab JAS 39 Gripens at Luleå-Kallax Air Base, Sweden, Feb. 26, 2024, during Bomber Task Force 24-2. BTF missions enable crews to maintain a high state of readiness proficiency, and validate an always-ready, global strike capability. BTF operations provide U.S. leaders with strategic options to assure Allies and partners, while deterring potential adversary aggression across the globe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jake Jacobsen)
A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, sits on a landing pad alongside two Saab JAS 39 Gripens at Luleå-Kallax Air Base, Sweden, Feb. 26, 2024, during Bomber Task Force 24-2. BTF missions enable crews to maintain a high state of readiness proficiency, and validate an always-ready, global strike capability. BTF operations provide U.S. leaders with strategic options to assure Allies and partners, while deterring potential adversary aggression across the globe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jake Jacobsen)

“This serves as a stellar illustration of NATO’s collective deterrence and air defense capabilities. In the face of today’s uncertain global security landscape, preparedness for any scenario is paramount. Through this exercise, we enhance interoperability within the NATO Alliance, reinforcing our commitment to collaborative efforts that foster international security and stability,” remarked Gen. James Hecker, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa and NATO Allied Air Command.

To achieve this, the B-1Bs flew as a simulated adversary and received intercepts from various NATO fighter aircraft across the Arctic, North Sea, and the Greenland, Iceland, and U.K. gap. All training objectives were met. Sweden’s status as a NATO invitee, soon to be a full-fledged member, has meant increased integration of the country into NATO’s military structures and operations. The U.S. routinely demonstrates its commitment to NATO Allies and partners through BTF missions. Through these missions, USAFE-AFAFRICA enables dynamic force employment in the European theater, providing strategic predictability and assurance for Allies and partners while contributing to deterrence by introducing greater operational unpredictability for potential adversaries. Regular and routine deployments of U.S. strategic bombers also provide critical touch points to train and operate alongside our Allies and partners while bolstering a collective response to any global conflict.

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, pose for a group photo alongside Swedish military personnel in front of a B-1B Lancer and two Saab JAS 39 Gripens at Luleå-Kallax Air Base, Sweden, Feb. 26, 2024, during Bomber Task Force 24-2. BTF operations provide U.S. leaders with strategic options to assure Allies and partners, while deterring potential adversary aggression across the globe.
U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, pose for a group photo alongside Swedish military personnel in front of a B-1B Lancer and two Saab JAS 39 Gripens at Luleå-Kallax Air Base, Sweden, Feb. 26, 2024, during Bomber Task Force 24-2. BTF operations provide U.S. leaders with strategic options to assure Allies and partners, while deterring potential adversary aggression across the globe. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jake Jacobsen)

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