Air Force deploys bombers to England for NATO exercises
By STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 1, 2017
RAF MILDENHALL, England — A flight of Boeing B-52H Stratofortress from the 2nd Bomb Wing accompanied by 800 airmen have deployed to RAF Fairford to take part in a series of upcoming war games across Europe.
An Air Force statement did not specify how many B-52s are involved in the deployment. Last year, three of the $84 million bombers were temporarily based at Fairford during drills in Europe.
The strategic bomber deployment will support exercises Arctic Challenge, Saber Strike and BALTOPS in the U.S. European Command area of responsibility throughout June.
Arctic Challenge includes forces from the United States, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Britain, Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada and the Netherlands. It concludes Friday. Saber Strike 17 will take place in several locations throughout Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, from May 28 to June 24. More than 4,000 U.S. and European troops are taking part in the annual Baltic Operations navy exercise on the Baltic Sea, which runs until June 16.
Deployment of the bombers to Europe is part of the Operation Atlantic Resolve campaign, which is aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia’s growing assertiveness. During the post-Cold War era, it was relatively rare to send long-range bombers to Europe, but recent tensions with Russia have prompted the Air Force to incorporate the aircraft into more alliance exercises.
A B-52H Stratofortress and a B-1B Lancer also are slated to appear at the Royal International Air Show at RAF Fairford from July 14 to 16.
A B-52H Stratofortress from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., taxis to a parking spot at RAF Fairford, United Kingdom, after its first Saber Strike 16 mission June 13, 2016. More than 800 airmen accompanied with B-52H Stratofortress bombers have deployed to RAF Fairford to take part in a series of upcoming war games across Europe.
SAHARA L. FALES/U.S. AIR FORCE