A task force of B-2 Spirit stealth bombers arrived at Lajes Field in Portugal Monday as part of a bomber task force deployment.
The B-2s are from the 509th Bomb Wing and the 131st BW at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, U.S. European Command said in a release. While in Europe, the bombers will operate out of various military installations in the EUCOM area of responsibility and conduct theater integration and flying training, the release said. EUCOM did not say how many B-2s deployed or how long they will be overseas.
These strategic deployments to Europe allow bomber crews to familiarize themselves with the theater and demonstrate the United States’ commitment to allies and partners, EUCOM said.
“Integrating with our NATO allies and theater partner nations, as well as other U.S. Air Force and joint units, contributes to our ready and postured forces and enables us to build enduring and strategic relationships necessary to confront a broad range of global challenges,” EUCOM said.
KC-10 Extenders from the 305th Air Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey refueled the bombers as they crossed the Atlantic Ocean.
Lajes is home to the 65th Air Base Group, which helps move troops and aircraft to combatant commanders and supports joint, coalition and NATO operations in the region.
The last time B-2s deployed to Europe was in August, when a task force from the 509th arrived at RAF Fairford in England.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.