B-1s Fly Training Mission to Estonia

Two B-1Bs flew directly from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., to train with NATO forces in Estonia on May 5, the latest long-distance training mission for the bombers.

The Lancers worked with forces on the ground from Estonia, the United Kingdom, and Denmark as part of the “Spring Storm” exercise, according to the Estonian Ministry of Defense. The training looks to “enhance interoperability and strengthen our enduring relationship,” the U.S. Embassy in Talinn said in a news release.

“The U.S. Air Force values opportunities such as these to build readiness capacity and capability alongside the Estonian air force,” the release states. “Regardless of any global challenge, the U.S. remains committed to our allies and partners and stands ready alongside them.”

Within the past two weeks, B-1s have flown multiple long-range training flights, though this is the first to Europe recently. Four B-1s and about 200 Airmen from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, on May 1 as part of a “Bomber Task Force” to the base, with one of the Lancers flying directly to Japan for training. On April 22, two B-1s flew from Ellsworth to train near Japan on April 22, and two B-1s flew from the same base to the South China Sea on April 30.

The Air Force has moved away from sending the bombers on long-term deployments, having recently ended the Continuous Bomber Presence mission on Guam, and instead is focused on a “dynamic force employment” model, aimed at making the way the service uses its bombers more operationally unpredictable, Air Force Global Strike Command boss Gen. Timothy Ray said.