Four B-52s from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota carried out a long-range training mission that flew through the Arctic to Europe on Wednesday.
The Stratofortress bombers, from the 5th Bomb Wing, trained with F-16s and F-35s from the Norwegian Air Force during the Bomber Task Force mission, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa said in a release. They flew over the Arctic Ocean and the Laptev Sea, off the northern coast of Siberia.
“The Arctic is a strategic region with growing geopolitical and global importance, and these Bomber Task Force missions demonstrate our commitment to our partners and allies and our capability to deter, assure, and defend together in an increasingly complex environment.” USAFE commander Gen. Jeff Harrigian said in the release. “The integration of our bombers across Europe and the Arctic is key to enhancing regional security.”
KC-135 tankers from the 100th Air Refueling Wing at RAF Mildenhall in England and 168th Air Refueling Wing at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska refueled the B-52s during their round-trip flight.
The Air Force has conducted multiple long-range training flights with all three types of bombers in its fleet to Europe in recent weeks, including training missions with the air forces of Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Sweden and other allied nations.
Stephen Losey covers leadership and personnel issues as the senior reporter for Air Force Times. He comes from an Air Force family, and his investigative reports have won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover Air Force operations against the Islamic State.