USAF’s bomber triad to open Super Bowl 55

The US Air Force’s bomber triad will conduct a first-of-its-kind trifecta flyover of the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, as part of the opening ceremony of Super Bowl 55 on February 7.

Announced by the USAF on January 25, the flyover will take place during the National Anthem performance before the highly-anticipated clash between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 55. The flyover will comprise a Boeing B-52H Stratofortress from Minot Air Force Base (AFB), North Dakota; a Northrop Grumman B-2A Spirit from Whiteman AFB, Missouri; and a Rockwell B-1B Lancer from Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota.

B-1B, B-2A, B-52H [USAF/Sagar Pathak]
Seeing the USAF's bomber triad share the same skies for a formation flyover is a rare event. On February 2, 2017, a Boeing B-52H Stratofortress, Northrop Grumman B-2A Spirt and Rockwell B-1B Lancer conducted a three-ship formation flight near Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, to honour and commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Eighth Air Force. USAF/Sagar Pathak

Gen Tim Ray, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC), said: “Supporting this event is a tremendous honour for our command and the USAF. We look forward to this opportunity to showcase the reliability, flexibility and precision of our bomber fleet to the nation during this exciting event.”

According to the USAF, each bomber will take off from their respective bases, join up for the flyover and then subsequently return home. It adds that it demonstrates “the flexibility of AFGSC’s bombers and their ability to deploy anywhere in the world from the continental US.”

The USAF conducts approximately 1,000 flyovers each year and states that these public demonstrations serve as a way to showcase the capabilities of its aircraft. They are also used as a way to inspire patriotism and future generations of aviation enthusiasts. “These flyovers are done at no additional cost to the taxpayer and serve as time-over-target training for our pilots, aircrew and ground control teams,” the service adds.