B-2s Fly With Dutch F-35s For First Time

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 bombers, deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., to RAF Fairford, England, linked up with the F-35As for a familiarization flight over the North Sea. Photographs of the flight show an F-15C from RAF Lakenheath, England, flying alongside a B-2 and F-35.

Earlier in the deployment, the B-2s also flew alongside Norwegian F-35s for the first time.

“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.