Four supersonic-capable Rockwell B-1B Lancer strategic bombers from the USAF’s 7th Bomb Wing (BW) at Dyess AFB, Texas, have deployed to RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, UK, as part of a long-planned Bomber Task Force-Europe rotation in support of ongoing US European Command and NATO deterrence operations.
The first two aircraft – serials 86-0105 ‘DY’ (callsign ‘SPICY21’) and 86-0103 ‘DY’ (callsign ‘SPICY22’) – departed Dyess at approximately 2200hrs (local time) on May 22, before completing a near 19-hour mission over the Baltic region, which saw the bombers integrate with regional and deployed NATO allies and partner nations conducting Air Policing and Air Shielding missions over Eastern Europe. The B-1Bs eventually landed on RAF Fairford’s Runway 09 at around 1730hrs (local time) on May 23.
These initial two aircraft were joined two days later by an additional pair of B-1Bs – serials 85-0064 ‘DY’ (callsign ‘SPICY41’) and 86-0125 ‘DY’ (callsign 'SPICY42’) – which arrived in the UK at approximately 1845hrs (local time) on May 25 after completing another near 20-hour mission over the Baltic region. It remains unclear as to how long the aircraft will remain in the UK for operations over Europe but they are expected to remain in-theatre for several weeks.
In a press release, the USAF stated that the B-1B’s missions “from North America to Europe demonstrates the USAF’s rapid ability to deploy anywhere, anytime, and provide lethal precision and global strike options to US and allied commanders.”
BTF deployments to both the European and Indo-Pacific theatres take place regularly and aim to support US National Defense Strategy objectives through what the USAF calls “strategic predictability” and “operational unpredictability”. Such missions are designed to enhance the training and readiness of USAF bomber crews, allowing for them to respond to potential crises across the globe at a moment’s notice. BTF deployments also provide an opportunity for allies and partner nations to integrate and train with USAF bombers in their own operational theatres.