Six B-52 Stratofortress aircraft will today conduct flyovers above all 30 NATO member states in Europe and North America.
The mission, called ‘Allied Sky’ is intended to demonstrate solidarity among NATO members, provide training and improve interoperability between US and allies aircrews.
Allied Sky is a spin on regular Bomber Task Force (BTF) missions conducted by the USAF in Europe which began in 2018, since then over 200 BTF sorties have been flown by the US and NATO allies.
Most recently these BTFs saw flights over the Nordic, Baltic, and Black Sea by B-1B Lancer aircraft and an air policing flight over NATO’s newest member North Macedonia.
As part of the mission, four B-52s will take-off from Royal Air Force (RAF) Fairford in the UK to complete the European wing of the sorties, meanwhile, two B-52s will take off from Minot Air Force Base (AFB) and fly over the US and Canada.
Commander of US European Command (USEUCOM) General Tod Wolters said: “US security commitments to the NATO Alliance remain ironclad, today’s bomber task force mission is another example of how the Alliance sustains readiness, improves interoperability and demonstrates our ability to deliver on commitments from across the Atlantic.”
During the mission, the US Air Force (USAF) B-52s will be joined by 80 fighter aircraft from Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, and the UK.
EUCOM said that the operation showed that despite the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic US forces ‘remain fully ready’ to operate across all domains and alongside allies.
Wolters added: “By further enhancing our enduring relationships, we send a clear message to potential adversaries about our readiness to meet any global challenge.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: “Today’s training event demonstrates the United States’ powerful commitment to NATO, and Allied solidarity in action. As US bombers overfly all 30 NATO Allies in a single day, they are being accompanied by fighter jets from across the Alliance, boosting our ability to respond together to any challenge.
“Training events like this help ensure that we fulfil our core mission: to deter aggression, prevent conflict, and preserve peace.”