The US Air Force’s (USAF) B-52H Stratofortress aircrew members from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota have performed the first flying mission in support of the multi-national exercises Saber Strike 15 and Baltops 15.
The new development took place alongside the hot-pit refuelling and engine-running crew changes carried out by the B-2 ground and air crews at RAF Fairford.
As part of the mission, the aircraft displayed its ability to carry out simulated air strikes, to fly into allied airspace and conduct low pass. Moreover, it completed combat air support operations with Joint Terminal Attack Controllers from Poland.
509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron low observable superintendent chief master sergeant Craig Smith said: "Flying the B-2 here solidifies the alliance we have with several of our allies, the commitment we provide, and the power we demonstrate, which we were able to showcase on this platform with refuelling the aircraft in minimal time."
The deployment to Royal Air Force Fairford was part of the regularly planned US strategic command deployments of forces, which is aimed to improve vital crew skills and build partnerships with allies and partner nations.
The exercise was specifically designed and closely coordinated with the UK and the US regional allies and partners. It offered opportunities to synchronise and integrate bomber capabilities among partners.
As part of this initiative, two B-2 Spirits were refuelled by Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, crew chiefs during a hot-pit refuelling.
According to the USAF, the bomber operations offered a credible, flexible and ready capability to respond to a range of potential threats and situations.
Baltops 15 and Saber Strike 15 are taking place over international waters in the Baltic Sea and the territory of the Baltic States and Poland.
Image: Two B-52H Stratofortresses from Minot Air Force Base taxi onto the runway at Royal Force Fairford, England. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photos / Senior Airman Malia Jenkins.