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US Air Force B-1B bombers fly over Sweden for the first time


Two B-1B Lancers from the 28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, conducted a long-range strategic Bomber Task Force mission to the Nordic region May 20, 2020.

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B 1 bombers fly over Sweden for the first time A B-1B Lancer flies with Norwegian F-35s during a training mission for Bomber Task Force Europe, May 20, 2020. Aircrews from the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, took off on their long-range, long-duration Bomber Task Force mission to conduct interoperability training with our allies and partners and strengthen our steadfast partnerships Norwegian Air Force (Picture source: Norwegian Air Force)


“Long-range bomber training missions strengthen our steadfast partnerships with allies across both Europe and Africa and showcase our ability to respond globally from anywhere,” said U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, Gen. Jeff Harrigian. “This mission further enhances our interoperability capabilities by taking groundbreaking steps to incorporate our partners to generate seamless operations.”

The mission marked the first time B-1s have flown over Sweden to integrate with Swedish Gripens while conducting close-air support training with Swedish Joint Terminal Attack Controller ground teams at Vidsel Range.

“Long-range bomber training missions strengthen our steadfast partnerships with allies across both Europe and Africa and showcase our ability to respond globally from anywhere,” said U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, Gen. Jeff Harrigian. “This mission further enhances our interoperability capabilities by taking groundbreaking steps to incorporate our partners to generate seamless operations.”

A KC-135 Stratotanker from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England, and a Dutch KDC-10 from the 334th Squadron, RNLAF Eindhoven Air Base, Netherlands, enabled the B-1 to complete the round trip from Ellsworth Air Force Base without stopping, while also providing aerial refueling support to our partner-nation aircraft.

During the flight, the B-1s were escorted by Royal Air Force Typhoons over the United Kingdom.

Additionally, the B-1s integrated with Norwegian F-35s to fly tactical sorties and conduct a low-approach over Ørland Air Station, Norway. Ørland Air Station is the home of the Royal Norwegian Air Force’s recently operational F-35 fleet. For Norway, the U.S. mission provided an important training opportunity.

"Today, we have carried out complex air operations with advanced systems – both on the ground and in the air," says Lieutenant Colonel Ståle Nymoen, commander of the Norwegian 332 Squadron.

In addition to complex air operations, Norway’s chain of control and reporting was an important part of the exercise. From the ground, the control and reporting chain continuously monitors Norwegian airspace and communicate with the fighter aircraft in the air.

“This is an important training arena for integrated training. This allows us to operate together and exchange information with other allies”, says Nymoen.

Given the inherent speed, flexibility, and range of strategic bombers, Bomber Task Force missions demonstrate U.S. capabilities and commitments to our allies, partners, and any potential adversary.

Operations and engagements with our allies and partners demonstrate and strengthen our shared commitment to global security and stability.