US European Command will be running Bomber Task Force (BTF) missions from Iceland, after 150 Air Force personnel and 3 B-2 Spirit aircraft arrived at Keflavik Air Base on 13 August.
Manufactured by Northrop Grumman, the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber is a low observable, long-range heavy bomber capable of penetrating sophisticated and dense air-defence shields. An assessment by USAF showed that two B-2s armed with precision weaponry can do the role of 75 conventional aircraft.
The transfer to Iceland is an example of dynamic force deployment, an approach that combines strategic unpredictability with operational adaptability, according to Lt. Col. Andrew Kousgaard, the commander of 393rd Bomb Squadron, leader of the expeditionary bombing crew on this deployment. “The B-2 bomber is arguably the most strategically significant airplane in the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s inflexible; dynamically deploying the bombers forward is a unique and important capability.”
While the BTF initiative will engage in a wide spectrum of military operations, from combat missions to humanitarian aid and disaster relief, the BTF initiative was designed to bolster US overarching security mandates, providing US and Nato leaders with strategic options and deterring adversary aggression.
“Each bomber task force mission underscores the prowess of our armed forces in navigating today’s intricate and unpredictable global security terrain, with a focus on fostering stability, security, and freedom across Europe.” said Gen. James Hecker, commander of US Air Forces in Europe, US Air Forces Africa and NATO Allied Command.
“In resolute unity, the US upholds our nation’s commitment to foster peace and stability in Europe, unwaveringly collaborating with Allies and partners to thwart challenges against the sovereignty of nations across the region,” he continued.
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The deployment will also give the Air Force personnel further experience in joint training exercises with Nato allies and partners, increasing interoperability and facilitating collaborative training.