RT News & The Air Force Times – 2014-06-10 00:45:41
US Sends Nuclear-capable Stealth Bombers to Europe
(June 9, 2014) — The US Air Force has sent more of its bombers to Europe, deploying two B-2 stealth aircraft as part of a military exercise. On Sunday they joined three B-52 StratoFortress bombers already deployed in Britain. All the visiting American aircraft are stationed at RAF Fairford, a British air base west of London.
“This deployment of strategic bombers provides an invaluable opportunity to strengthen and improve interoperability with our allies and partners,” said Adm. Cecil Haney, commander, US Strategic Command in a USAF statement.”
The B-2 bombers are assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing out of Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. They will conduct training flights in the US European Command area of operations, the statement said, offering no further details on the mission.
The US has been sending additional troops to Europe lately in a gesture meant to reassure its NATO partners, especially those in Eastern Europe, that Washington is committed to defending them militarily. NATO says the deployments are needed for a possible aggression from Russia amid the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine.
Moscow is criticizing the buildup of NATO forces close to Russia’s borders, calling them provocative and warning that the US is using the Ukrainian events as a pretext to flex its muscles.
The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit is a multipurpose stealth bomber first used by the US during the 1999 war in Kosovo. It was designed primarily to deliver nuclear weapons, but has been used extensively as a conventional bomber in all major US military campaigns from Afghanistan to Libya.
(June 8, 2014) — The Air Force has further beefed up its bomber presence in Europe, deploying two B-2 stealth bombers for military exercises in the region.
The B-2 deployment is another show of Washington’s effort to reassure allies in the region amid Russia’s recent bluster. The aircraft are assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing out of Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. On Sunday, they joined three B-52 Stratofortress aircraft already deployed to RAF Fairford, a British air base west of London.
All five of the aircraft are capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
“This deployment of strategic bombers provides an invaluable opportunity to strengthen and improve interoperability with our allies and partners,” said Adm. Cecil Haney, commander, US Strategic Command in an Air Force news release. “The training and integration of strategic forces demonstrates to our nation’s leaders and our allies that we have the right mix of aircraft and expertise to respond to a variety of potential threats and situations.”
During this short-term deployment, the multi-role heavy bombers will conduct training flights in the US European Command area of operations, according to the release. The release did not specify the length of the deployment.
STRATCOM routinely conducts training missions in support of geographic combatant commands to “ensure the US has a credible and flexible capability to provide the president a variety of options he may need to protect the nation or its allies and partners,” the release said.
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