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On 31st May 2021, a US Air Force B52H was joined by a KC 135 tanker aircraft and a Royal Air Force Typhoon, Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) aircraft based out of RAF Lossiemouth, Moray, Scotland.

They were taking part in a NATO Exercise involving several NATO allies, flying over multiple countries.

For the second time in a Bomber Task Force rotation, U.S. Air Force strategic aircraft have flown a mission over all 30 NATO allied nations in North America and Europe on 31 May 2021

B-52H Stratofortress aircraft currently deployed to Morón Air Base, Spain, and U.S. based aircraft have flown with more than 20 NATO allies in a single day across the two combatant commands.

The Operation demonstrated the shared commitment to NATO solidarity, enhanced readiness and provided training opportunities aimed at enhancing interoperability for all participating aircrews from the U.S. and our NATO allies. This Operation is the latest iteration of routine BTF missions that have occurred in the European theater of operations since 2018, with more than 200 sorties coordinated with allies and partners.

Strategic bombers contribute to stability around the world, as they are intended to deter conflict rather than instigate it. If called upon, U.S. aircraft offer rapid response capabilities at any time and in any theater.

The Operation was conducted in two parts:

· European Leg: B-52 Stratofortress bomber aircraft currently deployed to Morón Air Base Spain, have flown over all NATO nations in Europe. During the mission, the bombers completed aerial refueling and integrated with several allie aircraft.

· North American Leg: The stateside based aircraft integrated with aircraft from the U.S. and Canada while flying over both nations.

Supported by the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England, supported this large-force event. The 100th ARW is the only permanent USAF air refueling wing in Europe, extending the reach of U.S. and NATO aircraft in Europe and beyond.

“Bomber missions demonstrate the credibility of our forces to address a global security environment that is more diverse and uncertain than at any other time in our history,” said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, NATO Allied Air Command and U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa commander. “Today’s mission is an awesome demonstration of NATO air superiority and together there is no challenge we cannot tackle.”

NATO nations participating in the mission and integrating with U.S. aircraft include Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, and the U.K.

Bomber Task Force missions demonstrate U.S. commitment to the collective defence of NATO and contribute to stability in the European theatre. Our ability to quickly respond and assure allies and partners rests upon the fact that we are here, in Europe, forward and ready.

© Crown Copyright 2021
Special Thanks to: Corporal Alex Scott

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