The US Air Force (USAF) has deployed its B-52 Stratofortresses in a multi-national close air support training exercise, code-named Serpentex 2016, at Corsica, France.
Marking a first in history, B-52s participated in the exercise along with French fighters to support joint terminal attack controllers (JTAC) from several Nato nations, as well as those from Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Hosted by the French Air Force, the annual exercise aims to enhance coordination between intelligence, aircrew and JTAC of the Nato Allies’ air forces.
20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron assistant director of operations major Sarah Fortin said: "Serpentex is a great opportunity to have all the JTACs from coalition nations in one place, training together to increase interoperability and work on communication skills.
"It gives them a chance to train and get smart on what they have to do and what their capabilities are, so later on down the road when it counts, they can perform effectively and efficiently."
"Working alongside our coalition partners out there will be a great experience for everybody.
"Most of them haven’t worked with bombers for these types of missions before.
"We have a longer duration and a lot wider turn radius than some of the fighters, so they’re going to have to find a new pacing for calling us in for close air support. But I promise that bomber CAS is worth the wait."
Previously, the B-52s bombers were deployed for the Norwegian-led Cold Response 16, a large-scale Nato military training exercise in the Trondelag region of Norway, comprising air, ground and maritime operations.
Image: A B-52 aircraft in flight. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force.