USAF Bomber Task Force deployed to UK for training exercises

29 August 2019 (Last Updated August 29th, 2019 11:23)

The US Air Force (USAF) has deployed a Bomber Task Force to British Royal Air Force (RAF) Air Base Fairford to carry out theatre integration and flying training.

USAF Bomber Task Force deployed to UK for training exercises
Crew chiefs assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, prepare a B-2 Spirit to be towed into a hangar at Royal Air Base Fairford, England. Credit: USAF / Staff Sgt Kayla White.

The US Air Force (USAF) has deployed a Bomber Task Force to British Royal Air Force (RAF) Air Base Fairford to carry out theatre integration and flying training.

The taskforce comprises B-2 Spirit stealth bomber aircraft, airmen and support equipment from the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.

B-2 Spirit bombers work alongside USAF Global Strike Command (AFGSC) assets such as Boeing B-52H Stratofortress and B-1B Lancer aircraft for bomber assurance and deterrence missions.

On their current deployment, the B-2 bombers will take part in joint and allied training in Europe to enhance bomber interoperability.

In a statement, US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa said: “Training with partners, allied nations and other US Air Force units contributes to our readiness and enables us to build enduring and strategic relationships necessary to confront a broad range of global challenges.”

The deployment will also enable RAF Fairford to better prepare for its role as a forward operating base for the bombers.

USAF 322nd Air Expeditionary Group commander colonel Jared Kennish said: “This short-term deployment demonstrates the flexible global strike capabilities of the US bomber force, and ensures bomber crews maintain a high state of readiness.

“The training will provide opportunities to integrate capabilities with regional partners, and is part of the US’ commitment to supporting global security.”

Meanwhile, three B-52H bombers from Barksdale AFB and three B-1Bs from Ellsworth AFB are currently deployed in support of Saber Strike and BALTOPS exercises in the US European Theater.

US European Command has stated that bomber deployments are intended to improve readiness to deter and defend the US and its allies from adversaries.

Kennish said: “The bomber assurance and deterrence missions these three aircraft are supporting are key to reinforcing our commitment to our allies in Nato, in a very visible, very tangible way, that we stand shoulder to shoulder with them, no matter what.”