B-1Bs conduct Baltic training missions

A pair of US Air Force (USAF) Rockwell B-1B Lancer supersonic-capable strategic bombers flew from Ellsworth Air Force Base (AFB), South Dakota, to the Baltic region in support of a Bomber Task Force training mission.

During the first flight, which took place on May 5, the aircraft – operated by the 28th Bomb Wing – conducted integration and interoperability training with Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) Lockheed Martin F-16AM (MLU) Fighting Falcons over Bornholm Island in the Baltic Sea.

B-1B + Danish F-16 [Royal Danish Air Force] #1
B-1B Lancer - serial 86-0129 (c/n 89) - links up with a Danish F-16AM (MLU) Fighting Falcon - serial E-191 (c/n 6F-18) - over the Baltic region on May 5. The fighter wears an eye catching special scheme, given to it as part of 800th Anniversary celebrations of the nation's national flag. Royal Danish Air Force

The pair also flew over Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia during the long-range, long-duration mission. While operating over Estonia, the B-1Bs supported local Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) in close air support (CAS) training operations, using inert rounds at Estonia’s Tapa Range.

Gen Jeff Harrigan, commander of US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA), said: “Integrating bomber missions with our NATO allies and partners builds enduring relationships that are capable of confronting a broad range of global challenges… When you see the capability and integration first hand, it is clear we have a force that stands ready to execute the mission.”

In a press release, USAFE added that “training with our NATO allies and [theatre] partner nations contributes to enhanced resiliency and interoperability. Strategic bombers contribute to stability in the European [theatre] by sending a clear deterrence message to any potential adversary.”

B-1B + F-16C-52+ [Polish Air Force] #1
B-1B Lancer - serial 86-0129 (c/n 89) - is escorted by a Polish Air Force F-16C-52+ Fighting Falcon - serial 4043 (c/n JC-4) - during an overflight of Warsaw on May 11. Polish Air Force

On May 11, an Ellsworth-based B-1B returned to Europe, flying over Warsaw, Poland. During the early-morning flight, the bomber was escorted by Polish Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16C-52+ Fighting Falcons and Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29A/G Fulcrum-A multi-role fighters.

These appearances in support of Bomber Task Force training missions in the Baltic mark the first time the aircraft have operated in Europe since November 2018. “The B-1 Lancer can rapidly deliver massive quantities of conventional weapons against any adversary, anywhere in the world, at any time,” the USAFE press release added.