American B-2 stealth bomber lands in Norway for first time
Stars and Stripes August 31, 2023
An American B-2 Spirit made a historic pit stop in Norway this week, marking the first landing of the stealth bomber in the Scandinavian country, the Air Force said.
On Tuesday, the plane arrived at Orland Air Base for hot pit refueling, a procedure that minimizes the jet’s time on the ground and allows it to quickly gas up without shutting down its engines before relaunching.
“This clever technique extends our reach, establishing temporary operational hubs at strategically chosen and even unpredictable locations,” Gen. James Hecker, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, said in a statement Wednesday.
The B-2 is one of three Spirit bombers from Whiteman Air Base in Missouri that are deployed to Iceland’s Keflavik Air Base.
About 150 airmen from the 509th Bomb Wing also deployed Aug. 13 in support of the overseas mission, marking the jets’ first return to Europe since the wing’s last deployment to the Continent in 2021.
The aircraft began flying again in May after a five-month grounding of the fleet for safety checks, prompted by a fire in one of the jets in December.
The Air Force has yet to release the findings of its investigation into the cause of the fire.
While in Europe, the B-2 bombers are training with NATO and U.S. Air Force units for an undisclosed duration.
The brief mission to Norway comes as the Air Force continues to practice its agile combat employment concept. One of its goals is to move aircraft and airmen around to different airfields and avoid making them a static target in the event of a large-scale conflict.
In June, two Texas-based B-1B Lancer bombers landed for the first time at Lulea Kallax Air Base in Sweden while deployed to RAF Fairford in England.
All 20 of the U.S. B-2s are based at Whiteman. The aircraft can carry conventional and nuclear weapons.
The U.S. has conducted strategic bomber missions in Europe since 2018 to familiarize crews with the territory, as well as with NATO allies and partners.
The plane can travel 6,000 nautical miles without refueling and reach any point in the world within hours, according to manufacturer Northrup Grumman.