For The First Time USAF B-2 Bombers Flew Alongside With RNoAF F-35 Fighter Jets

For The First Time USAF B-2 Bombers Flew Alongside With RNoAF F-35 Fighter Jets
A U.S. B-2A Spirit bomber assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing and Royal Netherlands air force F-35A conduct aerial operations in support of Bomber Task Force Europe 20-2 over the North Sea March 18, 2020. Bomber missions provide opportunities to train and work with NATO allies and theater partners in combined and joint operations and exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Master Sgt. Matthew Plew)

Two B-2s that are deployed to Europe as part of a bomber task force rotation flew alongside Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35As on March 18, marking the first time the stealth bomber flew alongside Dutch fifth-generation fighters.

The two U.S. Air Force stealth bombers took off from Fairford airbase in England and were met by three Norwegian F-35s over Iceland. Photographs of the flight show an F-15C from RAF Lakenheath, England, flying alongside a B-2 and F-35.

Norway has currently four F-35s based at Keflavik, conducting NATO’s Air Policing mission in Iceland (IAP).

“This was indeed a special moment,” says Sigurd Tonning-Olsen, spokesperson with the Joint Headquarters on phone from Keflavik airbase on Iceland.

“The pilots were really excited.”

Tonning-Olsen says the F-35s were in the air for about one and a half hours, of which some 30 to 45 minutes were joint training with the American B-2s. 

Norway’s contribution to Air Policing at Iceland started in late February and ends later this week.

“We have had stormy and snowy days here,” Tonning-Olsen says.

Norway’s contribution to Air Policing at Iceland started in late February and ends later this week.

“We have had stormy and snowy days here,” Tonning-Olsen says.

For The First Time USAF B-2 Bombers Flew Alongside With RNoAF F-35 Fighter Jets
Royal Norwegian Air Force F-35A aircraft and a U.S. Air Force B-2A Spirit bomber conduct aerial operations in support of Bomber Task Force Europe 20-2 over Keflavik, Iceland March 16, 2020. Bomber missions provide opportunities to train and work with NATO allies and theater partners in combined and joint operations and exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Master Sgt. Matthew Plew)

“Conducting interoperability missions between the B-2 and fifth-generation platforms are crucial to enhancing partnership capacity and capability,” Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, said in a release. “It demonstrates our ability to deliver decisive, agile, and lethal combat power, alongside our NATO allies to any adversary, anytime, across the globe.”

The bombers, from the 509th Bomb Wing and 131st Bomb Wing, deployed to Europe on March 9. They started operations in Lajes Field, Azores, Portugal, before moving to Fairford.

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