B-2s deployed to Europe on March 16, conducting a hot-pit refeuling at Lajes Field, Portugal, before taking off again to conduct bomber task force missions in the region.
The undisclosed number of bombers took off from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., and did the hot-pit refueling and crew swap with its engines running at the base, according to a U.S. Air Forces in Europe release. The B-2s will be based out of Lajes Field for their upcoming missions.
The B-2 deployment comes as B-1s from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, are deployed to Ørland Air Base, Norway, for the first time, to conduct their own bomber task force missions.
“These missions will add even more depth to this already historic bomber task force iteration,” USAFE boss Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian said in a release. “B-2s joining the B-1s in theater offers unique opportunities to advance our readiness as we continue to work with and learn from our allies.”
USAFE did not disclose how long the B-2 deployment will last. The deployments of both the B-1 and B-2 are occurring as NATO’s massive Defender Europe exercise kicks off. This year’s iteration will include more than 30,000 personnel from 27 nations, with operations in more than 30 training zones, according to U.S. Army Europe.