USAF bombers conduct familiarisation flight with RNLAF F-35A

23 March 2020 (Last Updated March 23rd, 2020 10:35)

Two US Air Force (USAF) B-2 Spirit stealth bomber aircraft have conducted a fifth-generation integration familiarisation flight with a Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) F-35A Lightning II fighter jet over the North Sea.

USAF bombers conduct familiarisation flight with RNLAF F-35A
A US B-2A Spirit bomber and a Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35A conduct aerial operations in support of Bomber Task Force Europe 20-2 over the North Sea. Credit: USAF / Master Sgt Matthew Plew.

Two US Air Force (USAF) B-2 Spirit stealth bomber aircraft have conducted a fifth-generation integration familiarisation flight with a Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) F-35A Lightning II fighter jet over the North Sea.

The aircraft are assigned to the USAF 509th Bomb Wing and the Missouri Air National Guard 131st Bomb Wing based at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.

They are currently operating out of RAF Fairford in the UK as part of a Bomber Task Force (BTF) deployment.

US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander Jeff Harrigian said: “Conducting interoperability missions between the B-2 and fifth-generation platforms are crucial to enhancing partnership capacity and capability.

“It demonstrates our ability to deliver decisive, agile and lethal combat power, alongside our Nato allies to any adversary, anytime, across the globe.”

The B-2 Spirit stealth bombers earlier performed tactical integration training with RAF F-35s and Norwegian F-35s.

For the first time, B-2s have integrated with Norwegian and Dutch F-35s.

Airmen from the 509th BW and the 131st BW are deployed to RAF Fairford and will carry out training in a joint environment with partners and allies during the BTF rotation that started on 9 March 2020.

Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor for the B-2 low-observable, strategic, long-range, heavy bomber.

It is capable of penetrating sophisticated and dense air-defence shields and has a range of more than 6,000nm unrefuelled and over 10,000nm with one refuelling.

In December 2017, the USAF tested Raytheon’s Military-Code (M-Code) Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver on board a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.