A pair of B-52 Stratofortresses from Barksdale Air Force in Louisiana made a round trip to Europe for a major NATO training exercise last week.
The bombers flew to the North Sea to take part in a training exercise hosted by NATO over the North Sea, coordinating with other participants in the air and on the ground. That exercise, which ultimately lasted two weeks, involved more than 50 aircraft from multiple NATO nations, and was designed to ensure that allied air forces can effectively work together, the Air Force said.
Long-range bomber missions launched from the continental U.S. "ensure that as we continue to refine what I’ll call our muscle memory to operate across Europe,” said Air Force Gen. Jeff Harrigian.
The B-52s then flew back non-stop to the United States, with the help of aerial refueling from the U.S., Dutch, German and Italian air forces. The refueling missions included KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft from the 100th Air Refueling Wing at RAF Mildenhall in England, which refueled the bombers off the coast of Scotland.
The Air Force said the flight was intended to demonstrate U.S. support for its allies and partners, and its “shared commitment to global security and stability.”