In March, six US Air Force B-52H Stratofortresses deployed to RAF Fairford, UK, for one of the most significant bomber deployments to Europe in over a decade, as Ashley Wallace details in the forthcoming June issue of AFM.
Six B-52Hs from the 2nd Bomb Wing based at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana arrived at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, over the course of three days from March 14-16 – operationally, this was the largest deployment of a single USAF bomber type to the UK since 2003’s Operation Iraqi Freedom. The presence was about exercising Fairford as a primary forward-basing location for Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC), facilitating joint training in the US European Command theatre to improve interoperability.
Once settled at RAF Fairford, the B-52s undertook training missions across Europe. A statement from the US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa said: “Training with joint partners, allied nations and other US Air Force units contributes to our ready and postured forces and enables us to build enduring and strategic relationships necessary to confront a broad range of global challenges. The purpose of the flights was to conduct theatre familiarisation for aircrew members and to demonstrate US commitment to allies and partners through the global employment of military forces carrying out simulated bombing raids and air interceptions during their latest war games across Europe. The US Strategic Command regularly tests and evaluates the readiness of strategic assets to ensure they are able to honour security commitments.”
The aircraft departed RAF Fairford back to Louisiana as two waves of three on April 5 and 6 using the radio callsigns ‘Prose’ and ‘Bump’.
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