A quartet of Boeing B-52H Stratofortress strategic heavy bombers from the US Air Force’s (USAF’s) 2nd Bomb Wing have arrived at Morón Air Base in southern Spain as part of a Bomber Task Force (BTF) deployment to the region.
The four bombers arrived in Spain from Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB), Louisiana, on May 17 and will integrate and train with US allies and partners in the US European Command (USEUCOM) area of responsibility for the duration of their deployment. The arrival of the B-52Hs in the region marks the start of the latest BTF deployment, which is designed to exercise the ability of US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) to operate the bombers from a variety of forward operating locations.
Announcing the arrival of the B-52Hs at Morón, USAFE-AFAFRICA said that the BTF missions “demonstrate the US’ commitment to the collective defence of NATO and contribute to stability in the European theatre. Our ability to quickly respond and assure allies and partners rests upon the fact that we are here, in Europe, forward and ready.”
In recent years, USAF bombers have frequently deployed on BTF missions to the European and Indo-Pacific theatres. The three types that make up the air arm’s bomber triad have become increasingly regular visitors to RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, UK, and Andersen AFB in Guam in recent times.
On May 19, one of the four forward deployed B-52Hs departed Morón Air Base to complete a mission with NATO allies in the international airspace over the Baltic region. During this sortie, the bomber conducted low altitude flyovers over Riga, Latvia and Vilnius, Lithuania. The aircraft was escorted by fighter aircraft from the Royal Danish Air Force and the Polish Air Force during the mission.
Gen Jeff Harrigian, commander of USAFE-AFAFRICA, said: “The B-52s are already getting after it and accomplishing vital training with our allies. This level of integration makes our force more agile and capable.”