RAF Typhoons train with USAF B-1B over North Sea

Royal Air Force (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4s have conducted a training exercise with a USAF-operated Rockwell B-1B Lancer supersonic-capable strategic bomber over the North Sea.

Typhoons – operated by No 1(F) Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth, Moray, Scotland – escorted a B-1B Lancer as it conducted a long-range non-stop sortie to mainland Europe and back to the continental US, in support of Bomber Task Force training activities.

The fighters linked up with the bomber as it conducted air-to-air refuelling with an 100th Air Refuelling Wing (ARW)-operated KC-135R Stratotanker – based from RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk – over the North Sea on the return leg of the B-1B’s mission.

Typhoon FGR4, USAF KC-135R and B-1B [RAF] #1
An RAF Typhoon FGR4 escorts a USAF B-1B Lancer supersonic bomber as it lines up to refuel with an RAF Mildenhall-based USAF KC-135R Stratotanker. Royal Air Force

Prior to this, the bomber had joined up with Polish Air Force F-16Cs Fighting Falcons and MiG-29 Fulcrum-As over Warsaw. The B-1B flew over Latvia and Lithuania before the Polish fighters handed over escort duties to Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) F-16AM (MLU) Fighting Falcons in an overflight of Bornholm Island, Denmark.

One of the Typhoon pilots to link up with the bomber was Maj “NEWTL” Campbell – a US Marine Corps exchange officer with the RAF unit. He said: “It was fantastic for [No 1(F) Squadron] to escort the B-1B Lancer through UK airspace after its mission in the Baltic region… It was particularly humbling for me to play my part in this mission, escorting an American bomber in an RAF Typhoon as it flew through NATO airspace.”

Gp Capt Roger Elliott, director of the Joint Force Air Component Headquarters that oversaw the sortie, said: “These flying missions illustrate what the [RAF] is all about; opportunities for the RAF to work together with our NATO allies developing our understanding of each other’s operating procedures and capabilities. By operating alongside the USAF, we demonstrate our capability, flexibility and our commitment to NATO.”