B-52 Stratofortress bombers supporting U.S. Africa Command began flying alongside fighters from allies in North Africa Monday in a series of interoperability training missions.
Two B-52s in the Bomber Task Force Mission, including at least one from the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, flew alongside four F-16s from the Moroccan air force Monday, according to an AFRICOM release.
On Tuesday, two B-52s trained with a pair of F-5s from the Tunisian air force, another release said.
“Our ability to conduct these missions with our African partners enhances our interoperability and collective responsiveness to ensure security and stability prevails within the African continent,” U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Bradford Gering, deputy director of operations for AFRICOM, said in the Tuesday release. “It is a way for our bilateral forces to demonstrate our cooperative resolve against malign actors and in support of regional prosperity.”
The bombers are also expected to practice their maritime interdiction capabilities in the southern Mediterranean Sea in another training flight, the release said. During that exercise, the bombers will take part in a mock interception of the destroyer USS Roosevelt, which will be playing the part of a hostile vessel.
AFRICOM said that these kind of missions, which the military regularly conducts with allies, helps the partner nations practice how they would work together in combat, and stay ready.
And the missions help the U.S. demonstrate its commitment to helping partner nations in Africa, Army Maj. Gen. Joel Tyler, AFRICOM’s director of operations, said in Monday’s release.
Correction: This story originally misstated which vessel the B-52s will train with. They will train with the destroyer USS Roosevelt, not the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.
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.