Minot AFB B-52s fly mission in Baltic Sea region and Astral Knight 2020
B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers from the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, operating out of RAF Fairford, England, flew sorties in the Baltic Sea region focused on integration and interoperability training with European allies and partners on Sept. 25, according to U.S. Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Command information.
The flight included long-planned training with Denmark and Poland. The B-52 bombers also integrated with Italian Eurofighter and German Eurofighter aircraft and Portuguese F-16 aircraft currently assigned to the NATO air policing mission for an overflight of Riga, Latvia.
The Bomber Task Force Europe also flew in support of Astral Knight 2020. Astral Knight 2020 is a joint, multinational exercise involving airmen and soldiers from the United States working with service members from Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Sweden.
“During this past month we’ve flown over 50 sorties, alongside allies and partners from 30 countries, and integrated with 100 partner aircraft – and even the U.S.S. Roosevelt–as we’ve flown missions in the North Sea, Baltic, Barents, Black Sea, East Mediterranean and Adriatic Sea regions,” said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander. “And as awesome as that sounds, it’s still only a fraction of what we are capable of, and really highlights the ability of a combined force to deter and defend.”
KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft from the 100th Air Refueling Wing at RAF Mildenhall, England, enabled the long-range strategic Bomber Task Force Europe mission by providing aerial refueling support.
Ongoing bomber missions showcase the Air Force’s ability to continue executing flying missions, sustain readiness, and support U.S. allies and partners, regardless of any external challenge to include the current global COVID-19 crisis response. These bomber missions represent the U.S. commitment to U.S. allies and enhance regional security, the command information said.