B-52 Flies with F-22s, Nine Other Nations Over Middle East in Bomber Task Force Mission

A USAF B-52 flew through the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility on March 29, integrating with American F-22s and aircraft from nine other countries over the Middle East, U.S. Air Forces Central Command announced April 2.

The B-52 bomber, assigned to the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., flew over the East Mediterranean, Arabian Peninsula, and Red Sea after taking off from RAF Fairford in the United Kingdom, where it is deployed as part of a bomber task force mission.

The F-22s, from the 1st Fighter Wing at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., that joined the bomber have been in CENTCOM since February—a squadron deployed to the United Arab Emirates to respond to recent drone and missile strikes by Iranian-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels.

A KC-10 also joined the mission, refueling the B-52 over Saudi Arabia, according to images released by AFCENT.

The B-52 also flew with nine other nations’ aircraft, AFCENT commander Lt. Gen. Gregory M. Guillot said in a statement. According to official images released by AFCENT and other nations’ ministries of defense, those included Typhoons from the Royal Air Force, F-15s from the Israeli Air Force, F-15s from the Royal Saudi Air Force, F-15s from the Qatar Emiri Air Force, and F-16s and Typhoons from the Royal Air Force of Oman.

“With each bomber task force mission, [AFCENT] and partner air forces demonstrate the strength of regional airpower,” Guillot said in a statement “An unprecedented nine countries flew with our B-52 today, so this mission clearly signaled our ability to quickly bring forces to the theater and operate seamlessly with our partners during a training event that signals our combined commitment to regional stability and defense.” 

This is the second Bomber Task Force mission to fly in CENTCOM this year—the first took place Feb. 14, when a Minot B-52 flew from RAF Fairford and integrated with a pair of Marine Corps F/A-18s.