Three U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit stealth bombers are in the United Kingdom to conduct various training exercises in the region and one of them recently made a very significant first-ever visit to Iceland. Now, in another notable first, a pair of the flying-wing bombers have taken to the skies together with two of the U.K. Royal Air Force’s F-35B Joint Strike Fighters.
For the first time, UK F-35 Lightning jets have been conducted integration flying training with the B-2 Spirit stealth bombers of the United States Air Force as part of their deployment to RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, UK.
This training demonstrates U.S. support to NATO and underscores U.S. commitment to deterring adversary aggression toward allies and partners. It also enhances the U.S.’s ability to integrate bombers with fifth-generation fighter aircraft like the F-35.
The B-2 bombers, part of the Bomber Task Force currently deployed to the U.S. European Command area of responsibility, are from the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. The aircraft arrived in theater on Aug. 27 and are temporarily operating out of RAF Fairford. The deployment of strategic bombers to the U.K. helps exercise RAF Fairford as U.S. Air Forces in Europe’s forward operating location for bombers.
Some #Airpower as you peel off into your weekend! A B-2 Spirit stealth bomber refuels with a KC-135 Stratotanker over the skies of England during a training sortie with @RoyalAirForce F-35s. This is the first training mission in which a B-2 has flown with a non-@usairforce F-35. pic.twitter.com/39kDbiUcSG
— USAFE-AFAFRICA (@HQUSAFEPA) August 31, 2019
Strategic bomber missions like this sharpen readiness and the ability to respond to any potential crisis or challenge across the globe.
“Our Royal Air Force friends are integral to the 509th Bomb Wing mission,” Lt. Col. Rob Schoeneberg, Bomber Task Force commander, 393rd Expeditionary Squadron said. “The beauty of our partnerships is that we get to understand how they see the world. Working alongside international fifth generation aircraft provides unique training opportunities for us, bolsters our integration capabilities, and showcases the commitment we have to our NATO alliance.”
British Minister for the Armed Forces, Mark Lancaster said: “NATO is the bedrock of Euro-Atlantic defense, and those secure foundations continue to be reinforced by the training exercises being completed between the Royal Air Force and our special friends in the US Air Force.”
The UK MOD has just released a package of really interesting phtographs and Video, interestingly captured by a USAF Exchange pilot, showing the two B-2 Spirit bombers currently deployed to RAF Fairford, flying above the English countryside and over the White Cliffs of Dover along with two British F-35B Lightning jets.
This is the first time the B-2s integrate with non-US F-35s.
The photo shooting was carried out during a mission flown on Aug. 29.